Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

When Countries Increase Their Military Budgets, They Decrease Public Health Spending

PEACE SCIENCE DIGEST – One key argument against military spending is that it “crowds out” government spending in public health. The evidence is mixed. Some argue that increased military spending has indirect but positive effects on public health — whether through the diversity of military expenditures or other “growth-stimulating” effects. Others suggest that there is a trade-off between military and public health priorities because government spending is constrained by limited resources. Using sophisticated statistical techniques, this article examines whether a causal relationship exists between military spending and public health spending.

Why the Trade War with China is So Dangerous

MEL GURTOV – The trade war with China that Trump so confidently predicted would result in a great new deal now threatens to become a permanent feature of US-China relations. Why that is likely may have less to do with the specific trade issues in dispute than with the vastly different negotiating styles and operating principles of the two countries’ leaderships.

Seeking True Diversity; Leaving Shame Behind

JOHN HEID – “Don’t Label Me, An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times” (by Irshad Manji, St. Martin’s Press, 2019), opens with an invitation to expand our moral imagination and concludes with an 11-step “moral courage regimen.” The pages in-between read like a manifesto as radical, i.e. deeply rooted, as any I have come across in years. This is a book acutely for our times. Irshad Manji offers critical analysis, alongside a crash course in nonviolent engagement techniques. Theory and practice all in one. The content is as at once a life-size mirror and flashing red lights for the progressive left.

Let’s Not Spend $1.7 Trillion on Our Nukes, a Group of N.J. Professors Says. Let’s Get Rid of Them, and the Threat of a Catastrophic War.

ZIA MIAN, ALAN ROBOCK and SHARON WEINER – On May 23rd, the New Jersey General Assembly approved Resolution 230, urging the federal government to pursue a broad range of measures to reduce the danger of nuclear war and to join the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. California and some American cities have already adopted similar resolutions to call for action in Washington on nuclear weapons. Here’s why.

Memorial Day: a Day of Bad Memory

WIM LAVEN – The frustration I experience with dishonest politics reached a peak with Memorial Day this year. I saw protest signs and memes to the effect of: “Some gave all. All gave something. Trump gave nothing.” While it perfectly captured my frustration, it was oversimplified and failed to articulate the real failures.

“Emergency” Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Lack an Emergency

MEL GURTOV – Trump has authorized the dispatch of 1500 additional troops to the Middle East and the sale of several billion dollars in “precision-guided” weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The arms sale is being made without Congressional authorization or consultation, on the argument (made by Pompeo) that an “extreme emergency” eliminates the legal requirement to make the case to Congress. But there is no emergency.

A Green New Deal Needs to Fight US Militarism

PHYLLIS BENNIS – The Green New Deal must have anti-militarism at its core. Wars and the military render impossible the aspirations contained in the Green New Deal. And slashing the out-of-control military budget is crucial to provide the billions of dollars we need to create a sustainable and egalitarian economy.

Why So Many Journalists Are Clueless About the Bernie 2020 Campaign

NORMAN SOLOMON – Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as they’re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues. Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as they’re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues.

Now is the Time to Confront Two World-Threatening Crises

ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – On April 22, we marked the 49th anniversary of the first Earth Day. This comes 50 years after the Santa Barbara oil spills which were instrumental in the declaration of the first Earth Day. The fate of our planet remains threatened by two inextricably connected threats, that of climate change and nuclear war. We cannot pretend to be concerned about our environment if we are not simultaneously concerned about the destruction of the planet by nuclear war.

America’s “Hole-in-the-Head” Nuke Suicide Pact Gets Court Approval

HARVEY WASSERMAN – The Supreme Court has just now certified the deadliest and most economically destructive scam of the entire Trump catastrophe. Every downwind American is now threatened with deadly radiation while state after state bankrupts itself with soaring electric bills and ecological disaster, crippling the Solartopian green energy revolution. It is, in short, the “hole in the head” wave of massive state-based nuke bailouts.

Huge Costs of Natural Disasters Dwarfed by Spending on the Disaster of Nuclear Weapons

ROBERT F. DODGE, MD – This year communities across our nation are struggling to recover from the catastrophic natural disasters over the past year. Yet, paradoxically, as we cope with the rebuilding and financial burden of these natural disasters, our nation marches blindly forward spending precious resources funding the greatest potential manmade disaster, namely nuclear war. The effects of nuclear war would dwarf any natural disaster.

Trump’s Immigration Policy: A Study in the Shock Doctrine

ANDREW MOSS – If you look back over the Trump administration’s handling of immigration during the past two-and-a-half years, you’ll see a pattern of chronic tension and dysfunction. Like many people, you may have apprehended the pattern as a series of specific emergencies and dramatic events: the declaration of an “invasion” at our borders; the shutdown, or threatened shutdown, of our government or our southern border; the separation of migrant families crossing the border; the forced resignation of government officials unable to fulfill the president’s demands for ever-harsher measures.

Rep. Barbara Lee’s Startling Vote to Boost Military Spending

NORMAN SOLOMON – What Barbara Lee did on the House floor three days after 9/11 — speaking prophetic words and casting the only vote against a green light for endless war — remains the bravest wise action in Congress during this century. The contrast was jolting last week when her vote enabled the House Budget Committee to approve a bill with a $17 billion increase in military spending for next year and another such increase for 2021.

Nuclear Weapons Ruined My Life, and I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way

FRIDA BERRIGAN – Nuclear weapons ruined my life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I hope they are ruining your life too. Because that is the only way we are going to get rid of them. Editor note: This intimate, first person account is a must-read for everyone (and beyond) who cares about the fight to end the existence of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

Pelosi and McConnell Are Inching Us Closer to Nuclear War

NORMAN SOLOMON – When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell teamed up to invite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress, they had every reason to expect the April 3 speech to be a big hit with U.S. media and political elites. The establishment is eager to affirm the sanctity of support for the transatlantic military alliance. But huge reverence for NATO is matched by how dangerous NATO has become. NATO’s continual expansion — all the way to Russia’s borders — has significantly increased the chances that the world’s two nuclear superpowers will get into direct military conflict.

Three Mile Island’s Murderous Legacy Still Threatens Us All

HARVEY WASSERMAN – Forty years ago this week, the Three Mile Island nuke began pouring lethal radiation into our air and water, lungs and livers. Throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond, people, animals, plants, and the planet began to die en masse. In 1980, a mile from the plant, I interviewed many of the immediate victims. It was the worst week of my life. Today 98 US reactors could repeat the slaughter

Democratic Hopefuls Must Spell Out a Compassionate Immigration Policy

ANDREW MOSS – If the Democratic candidates hope to offer a comprehensive vision of what our immigration policy should be, it’s imperative that they shift the debate from sloganeering about the wall and “open borders” to a consideration of an underlying question: What priorities and values will guide our immigration policy in the coming years? Will we continue along the present path of increased militarization and incarceration, or will we forge policies guided by a vision of a more just society?

US Cold Warriors Escalate toward Actual War with Russia

STEPHEN F. COHEN – Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, America’s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples.

Congress Should Begin Impeachment, But Not the Way You Think

DAVID SWANSON – Back before Donald Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article called “Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump.” Perhaps it is less quixotic, or perhaps it is more, to hope that, after more than two years of being barraged with those fantasies, but with their main focus having publicly flopped, more people will now be open to trying something else. That pre-inauguration article read: “Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. . . . Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate . . .

Youths Explain Support for Green New Deal

SAMANTHA M. and ANGELICA PERKINS – We believe in the Green New Deal, and we know what the Green New Deal is. We have read it and we understand it because we know exactly what we have to do to secure our future. Youth have a right to be in this conversation because in the long run, this is more than a debate. It is our life and future.

Sanders Spells Out a Progressive Prescription

NORMAN SOLOMON – Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption

JOHN LAFORGE – “Here’s the issue: Nuclear power right now is six percent of energy of the world. There are only 400 nuclear power plants. These are old nuclear power plants. But our scientists tell us [that] to have a minimum impact on climate change — which is the whole rationale for bringing this technology back — nuclear would have to be 20 percent of the energy mix to have the minimum, minimum impact on climate change — not six percent of the mix. An impossible goal. For one thing, the issue of water.

Why All Anti-Interventionists Will Necessarily Be Smeared As Russian Assets

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE – But we can’t keep living this way. We all know this, deep down. The people at the helm of the unipolar world order are advancing an ecocidal world economy which is stripping the earth bare and filling the air with poison while at the same time pushing more and more aggressively against the multipolarist powers, one of which happens to have thousands of nuclear warheads at its disposal. The unipolarity so enthusiastically promoted by the neoconservatives and their fellow travelers has reached the end of the line after just a few short years, and now it’s time to dispense with it and try something else. They will necessarily smear us with everything but the kitchen sink for saying so, but we are right and they are wrong. The state of the world today proves this beyond a doubt.

U.S. Iran Policy: What is Great?

ALEX MCDONALD – Although the Iranian government has its problems, I saw greatness in its people. The people overwhelmingly were warm and welcoming. They repeatedly told us they love Americans but don’t like our government. So, let’s stand up against corruption in our government, like the influence of hostile forces trying to buy our politicians and use our military power. Let’s oppose governments rather than their people. Let’s use our American strengths for good, or even better, for Greatness.

Chelsea Manning Jailed Again For Refusing to Testify at a Grand Jury Inquiry

KATHY KELLY – Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.

US Peaceworker Suffers US Sanctions in Iran

DAVID HARTSOUGH – I come back home with a heart which is much stronger but also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war. I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war. I hope you will join me.