Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Curing Fascism

Fascism is a disease, a delusion, a toxic worldview. It’s encouraged and manipulated by propaganda. Its characteristics are numerous and to various degrees widespread and long-lasting.

Border Security: Wall vs. Principles

Consider the limited thinking that produces a concept such as “border security.” The essential assumption here is that the United States of America is primarily a physical container – three and a half million square miles of freedom and prosperity, whoopee, but the supply is limited. Sorry, have-nots, we don’t have room for you.

While Rome (and Most Everywhere Else) Burns: Climate Change Asserts Itself

MEL GURTOV – Every world leader who shrinks from directly addressing climate change through public and international policy is, to my mind, guilty of a crime against humanity. A harsh judgment? As I read scientists’ reports about just how fast the polar ice caps are melting, how quickly seas are rising, and how temperatures worldwide are making new records, I conclude that worsening environmental conditions are outrunning both scientific predictions and the ability to act in time. Inaction in such dire circumstances is inexcusable, and should be punishable, on behalf of humanity.

How Women Led a Peaceful Flotilla to Reclaim their Island from the Sri Lankan Navy

LISA FULLER – 100 Sri Lankan community members have permanently moved back to their navy-occupied island of Iranaitheevu. After a quarter century of displacement, they have begun to rebuild the long-neglected, war-ravaged town. Their success was not a result of luck, nor did the navy have a sudden change of heart. Instead, a group of women from the community had developed and implemented a nonviolent strategy that closely resembles techniques implemented by professional civilian peacekeepers in conflict zones across the world.

Which Is More Occupied, Crimea or Afghanistan?

DAVID SWANSON – I don’t propose comparing the horrors of the so-called longest U.S. war — as if the wars on Native Americans aren’t real — with World War II or Iraq. I propose comparing them with the people of Crimea voting to make their little piece of land part of Russia again. Which is more barbaric, immoral, illegal, destructive, and traumatic?

It’s a Miracle We Have Not Destroyed Ourselves Yet

KARY LOVE – Given we are still here, and the history of close calls, I concluded on the road to understanding the “Damascus” disaster, that only a loving god, watching out for drunkards and fools, can account for the many unexplainable “miracles” that have occurred along the way. As has been said, man has killed god, fortunately god is more merciful. Let us pray.

Russophobia Does Not Serve Our Self Interest

WINSLOW MYERS – With the executive branch demonstrably willing to gallop bareback off the established foreign policy reservation, the knee-jerk adversary of progressives for decades, the so-called “deep state,” with its reflexive fear of Russian totalitarian infiltration and its perpetuation of military dominance in all earthly spheres, may at least be providing a sorely needed element of restraint and integrity.

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

MATT WILKINS – The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions. And it’s true we could all do more to reduce our plastic footprint. The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it.

Trump’s Space Force: Military Profiteering’s Final Frontier

HARVEY WASSERMAN – The Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, has announced a new mission into the realm of martial excess. It is one is that will surely enrich the aerospace industry while spreading the global battlefield to a new dimension.

Trump is calling for the creation of a new Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, to militarize the heavens.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Trump told a meeting of the National Space Council in mid-June. “We must have American dominance in space.”

Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament

KATHY KELLY – In the state of Georgia’s Glynn County Detention Center, four activists await trial stemming from their nonviolent action, on April 4, 2018, at the Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay. In all, seven Catholic plowshares activists acted that day, aiming to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.” The Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 9000 Hiroshima bombs.

Valuing Life More than Borders

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – “We are people who believe in the worth of every human being,” Elizabeth Warren said the other day, and I wondered for a moment what life would be like if that were true. The more crucial question, however, is: How can we make it true?

Trump’s War on the Poor: An Impeachable Offense

MEL GURTOV – Were it not for the source, it would hardly be news to learn that the United States can’t take care of its most needy—that it may be the richest country, but it is also increasingly, appallingly, unequal in how its wealth and opportunities are shared. When the various dimensions of human security are examined, critics have long noted that the US falls short, whether in treatment of children, poverty rates, income gaps between rich and poor, or even life expectancy. All this has been amply documented in annual reports of the United Nations Development Programme.

What can be Learned from a Mass Shooting that didn’t Happen?

MICHAEL NAGLER – Nonviolence is spread out all around us, yet we so often fail to see how it can be used to stop some of today’s worst atrocities. Take school shootings, as just one example. It’s telling that the idea of arming teachers has been seriously debated in the media, while nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution remain largely unknown. That’s why the recent film “Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story” is so unique. It tells the true story of Antoinette Tuff, an elementary school accountant in Decatur, Georgia, who prevented a mass shooting in 2013 by talking would-be killer Michael Hill into putting down his assault weapon.

Trump’s Getting Us Ready to Fight a Nuclear War

LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although many people have criticized the bizarre nature of Donald Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea, his recent love fest with Kim Jong Un does have the potential to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Even so, buried far below the mass media coverage of the summit spectacle, the reality is that Trump―assisted by his military and civilian advisors―is busy getting the United States ready for nuclear war.

The Resistance Ramps Up as Pro-immigrant Direct Action Breaks Out Nationwide

L.A. KAUFMANN – Quite suddenly, over the last week or so, something crucial has shifted in the mood of the grassroots resistance to Donald Trump. You can time it, more or less, to the release of that devastating recording of migrant children weeping for their parents after having been ripped from their arms, or the widely circulated photographs of children being held in cages. The unfolding horror of Trump’s family separation policy, and his administration’s plans for indefinite immigrant detention, is galvanizing people to fight back in a way that hasn’t yet happened under this presidency — specifically, with mass direct action.

Why Are the Poor Patriotic?

DAVID SWANSON – We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?

Is the U.S. Engaged in a “Great Waking Up?”

ROBERT KOEHLER – We’re stuck, at least here in the USA, with a pseudo-democracy partially but not completely controlled by certain special interests. We possess a fair amount of freedom of thought and action. Maybe it’s not enough to dislodge the entrenched, money-blessed military-industrialism that is our ruling god — but maybe it is, if we can foment a Great Waking Up and start undoing the harm we have been inflicting on ourselves for so long now. The collapse of the Republican Party may signal that change is underway. So is the message from a few millennia back: Love thy enemy as thyself.

Attacking the Roots of War: a True Peace Movement

DR. KENT D. SHIFFERD – We need to uproot the “tree of war.” That means to persuade people that the myths we hold about war are just that, that War makes us less secure, and that there are other ways to manage conflict that make us more secure. It means to stop saying “No” and to start saying “Yes.” It means to place before them a positive peace system. And that is a long-term project so the sooner we all focus on that, the sooner we end War.

Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts?

JACK F. MATLOCK JR. – “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” That saying—often misattributed to Euripides—comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest “Russiagate” headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.

The End of Project Maven at Google Shows the Power of Tech Workers who Take a Stand

KHARI JOHNSON – We’re roughly halfway through 2018, and one of the most important AI stories to emerge so far is Project Maven and its fallout at Google. The program to use AI to analyze drone video footage began last year, and this week we learned of the Pentagon’s plans to expand Maven and establish a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. We also learned that Google believed it would make hundreds of millions of dollars from participating in the Maven project and that Maven was reportedly tied directly to a cloud computing contract worth billions of dollars. Today, news broke that Google will discontinue its Maven contract when it expires next year.

Big Government’s Focus on Fines and Fees Disparately Impacts Poor, Minority Communities

PROJECT 21 – Law enforcement agencies focus too much on revenue-generating activities that have a negative impact on poor and minority communities, further straining the relationship between police and the communities they serve, according to the black leadership network Project 21 . As part of its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” Project 21 recommends 10 criminal justice reforms.

Climate Change Movement Responds to Canada’s Plan to Nationalize the Trans Mountain Pipeline

PRESS RELEASE FROM STAND UP TO OIL COALITION AND PARTNERS – Despite widespread opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would bring in 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day across Canada and out through the international Salish Sea waters in oil tankers, the Canadian government announced today that it will buy the pipeline in an attempt to guarantee its construction. By nationalizing this project, the Canadian government is taking on the risk of a massive construction project and pipeline that just this past weekend spilled oil.

True Patriotism Means Caring for Our Nation’s People

REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II and REV. DR. LIZ THEOHARIS – As the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival prepares for our third week of direct action, the nation pauses for Memorial Day weekend. Listening to many, including veterans in this movement, we chose to focus this week on our challenge to militarism and the war economy as well as the proliferation of gun violence in the US. We believe the greatest patriotism for moral agents is insisting that America become a more perfect union.

In an internal memo, the White House considered whether to simply ‘ignore’ federal climate research

CHRIS MOONEY and JULIET EILPERIN – White House officials last year weighed whether to simply “ignore” climate studies produced by government scientists or to instead develop “a coherent, fact-based message about climate science,” according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post. The document, drafted Sept. 18 by Michael Catanzaro, President Trump’s special assistant for domestic energy and environmental policy at the time, highlights the dilemma the administration has faced over climate change since Trump took office. Even as Trump’s deputies have worked methodically to uproot policies aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon output, the administration’s agencies continue to produce reports showing that climate change is happening, is human-driven and is a threat to the United States.

Putin Takes Ax to Military Spending

FRED WEIR – Amid the current worries in the West over Russia, the idea that Russia would be cutting its military spending seems counterintuitive to us. But that’s just what Vladimir Putin is doing with his new budget, in which plans for a major infrastructure boost are coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin’s more ambitious defense projects.

New Polls Show Anti-Trump Isn’t Enough to Beat GOP

NORMAN SOLOMON – With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Party’s much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled out. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.

Fear and Opportunity in Immigration Politics

ANDREW MOSS – Carving a path to citizenship for the Dreamers is important and necessary, but it’s only one step in a comprehensive reform that will, among other things, remove criminalization from all 11 million undocumented people in the country and abolish the iniquitous for-profit detention centers. Moving reform forward will require leaders with the vision and eloquence to show that protecting immigrants’ rights means protecting all our rights – and that the struggle for economic justice is inextricably bound up with the struggle for immigration justice. This is both the opportunity and the challenge.

Police Violence isn’t the Cause of Injustice—it’s the Outcome

ANOOP MIRPURI – The problems of police violence and mass incarceration are about much more than criminal justice. For this reason, efforts to resolve the current crisis solely at the level of criminal justice are more likely to wind up justifying police violence than ending it. For those who benefit from the way society is currently organized, peace and quiet for some may be more important than peace and justice for everyone. But if we’re really interested in justice, we have to listen to the people our society dismisses as “criminals” and the millions more vulnerable to being criminalized. We have to acknowledge that police violence isn’t the cause of injustice; it’s the outcome of injustice. Justice can’t be achieved simply by reforming the police. It can be achieved only through the long-term effort of transforming a society that produces such extreme inequalities that the police are seen as necessary.

Blatant Ignorance on Iran Nuclear Deal a Dangerous Course

PATRICK HILLER – The May 8, 2018 announcement by U.S. President Trump to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal is a disastrous decision, shredding successful diplomacy into pieces and paving the path toward destructive conflict and war. In his announcement, the President continued to display his utter ignorance of the nature and functioning of the deal.