Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

A Long Overdue Discussion on Pentagon Spending

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG and BEN FREEMAN – Although he has expressed skepticism, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is open to further discussion on how much Pentagon spending is needed to protect us, as he noted in a recent meeting with the organization Win Without War. Savings, reductions, elimination of duplicate contracts overlapping with other government agencies can amount to billions of dollars. Let the discussion begin.

Corporate Democrats Are to Blame for Congressional Losses — So Naturally They’re Blaming Progressives

NORMAN SOLOMON – Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement “moderate” strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Biden’s victory “came with no coattails down ballot.” Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives.

‘This Is a Really, Really Big Deal’: Michigan Gov. Moves to Shut Down Line 5 Pipeline to Protect Great Lakes

JESSICA CORBETT – Environmental and Indigenous activists celebrated Friday after Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took action to shut down the decades-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac, narrow waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan—two of the Great Lakes.

What Is The “Biden Mandate” Really?

ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Joe Biden, in blatant defiance of the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has won the vote and claimed the presidency. He will now, as he told the nation in his acceptance speech, begin attempting to “restore the soul of America” and “marshal the forces of decency,” which sounds great but means virtually nothing unless the words are linked to a clear and courageous agenda.

Progressives Made Trump’s Defeat Possible. Now It’s Time to Challenge Biden and Other Corporate Democrats.

NORMAN SOLOMON – The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues — climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more — it’s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.

Nuclear Disarmers Can’t Forget the Communities that Rely on Military Spending

TRICIA WHITE and MATT KORDA – If disarmament advocates really want to push for the retirement of the US ICBM force, we need to come prepared with answers to the economic problems it would have on these “nuclear sponge” communities. Is Congress willing to offer a guaranteed income to the constituents who will lose their jobs? Will there be an equivalent of the Paycheck Protection Program? How does a community that loses its predominant industry rebuild its economy, especially in the aftermath of a devastating pandemic?

Once We Recognize the Interdependence of the World, We can Shape a Better Future

SOVAIDA MA’ANI EWING – If there is one lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global economic recession have taught us, it is that we live in a world that is so interconnected and inextricably interdependent that it has effectively become a single organism. This is a reality that no amount of denial will change. On the contrary, such denial will only cause us to suffer more intensely. We will be better off if we fully recognize and embrace this reality.

Portland Nonprofit Launches Attempt to Save Hospice House

EMMA HABER – In the aftermath of the closing of Hopewell House, the only hospice house in Portland, one final hope has arisen. After 30 years providing compassionate and dignified end-of-life care, Hopewell sadly shuttered its doors in 2019. With only months to raise the funds, Friends of Hopewell House, a newly incorporated 501(c) nonprofit, has launched a $5 Million capital campaign to purchase the property from Legacy Health Systems and once again open the beloved institution’s welcoming doors.

Competing with Nature: COVID-19 as a Capitalist Virus

ASHLEY SMITH – The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating as the death toll climbs ever higher around the world. Spectre’s Ashley Smith interviews epidemiologist Rob Wallace about the global capitalist roots of the current pandemic, the likelihood of future pandemics, and the types of organized resistance necessary to prevent them.

A Voice and a Vote for the People of the World

DONNA PARK – It is now more evident than ever that the world lacks the structures necessary to successfully address the many global problems facing it. The General Assembly of the United Nations represents the nations of the world. But the governments of these nations often seem more worried about protecting their national sovereignty than about addressing global problems that are existential threats to humanity.

Columbus Day in Pretend America

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The scariest part about the legacy of Columbus, and Europe’s “Age of Discovery” — ah, the white men break out of their cage and find the rest of the world — is that it’s still alive. And while there’s a growing demand that we should dump Columbus Day as a national holiday and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I think something else is necessary as well: We need to look deeply at the legacy of Columbus and begin to own it. No more whitewash!

You Can Help the Homeless By Offering Dignity

JAMES RYAN – There are many ways to make a difference. One of the most important is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult: provide dignity. Please do not studiously ignore the homeless person on the park bench or look away from the one sitting on the sidewalk as you pass. Greet them or strike up a small conversation. Many homeless people report that more difficult than giving up their possessions is giving up the dignity of being seen.

With Focus on Assange, Belmarsh Tribunal Puts ‘US War Crimes on Trial’

BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunal—named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.—was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance program—and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”

Where Does the Democratic Party Stand on War, Peace, and International Relations?

LAWRENCE WITTNER – After nearly four years of the Trump administration, U.S. voters have a pretty good idea of the policies that the President and his Republican allies champion when it comes to America’s dealings with other nations. These policies include massive increases in military spending, lengthy wars abroad, threats of nuclear war, withdrawal from climate and nuclear disarmament treaties, a crackdown on refugees, and abandonment of international institutions. But what about the Democrats?

‘Appalling Betrayal’: New Report Details Dozens of Trump Rollbacks Perpetrated Under Cover of Covid-19

BRETT WILKINS – “Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead and more than 6 million have been infected with Covid-19 because of the administration’s disastrous response, but Trump’s top priority is showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors,” says Matt Kent of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

Conservationists Say State Regulators are Allowing Power Plant Developers to Avoid Carbon Fees

TED SICKINGER – Opponents of a proposed power plantin Umatilla County say state regulators are poised to allow construction of a “road to nowhere” that would allow the plant’s backers to avoid paying millions of dollars in extra fees under a strengthened global warming standard established this spring by Gov. Kate Brown.

Ashland Activist: Systemic Change Starts with Us

IRENE KAI – The first World Peace Flame in North America was installed in the lobby of the Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee in 2002. Ashland (Oregon) Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) installed the second North American World Peace Flame on the International Day of Peace two years ago, 21 September 2018.

The Israel-UAE Agreement: Good for a Few, Bad for Most

MEL GURTOV – Commentators evidently desperate for good news are touting the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreement as a welcome path to Middle East peace. The agreement trades Israel’s promise not to annex portions of the West Bank for the UAE’s recognition of Israel. One conservative writer for the Washington Post actually thinks Trump’s role in helping bring the agreement about makes him a Nobel Prize candidate. But hold on.

Listen Democratic Party: Your Supporters Want Military Budget Cuts

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Democratic majorities were crucial this summer to the defeat of three separate bills, introduced by progressive Democrats, to reduce military spending and/or undo the militarization of police departments. These included amendments in both the Senate and the House to the National Defense Authorization Act, diverting 10 percent of the Department of Defense budget to health care, education and jobs; as well as a Senate proposal to end the 1033 Program, which allows the Pentagon to transfer military gear to the police. The amendment’s defeat in the House was especially an outrage in that the Dems hold a majority in the House and could have passed it.

An Open Letter to the National Democratic Leadership

PETER BERGEL – In the wake of the COVID epidemic, the movement to ensure that Black Lives Matter, the inadequacies revealed in our health care system, the movement to address climate change and the growing disgust our people feel for the U.S.’s ongoing foreign wars and international bullying, the time has come for system-wide changes.

“Reluctant Democracy” Abets Election Theft

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – America’s reluctant democracy: It demands a lot more of us than we’re taught to believe. Yes, voting is important (if you can), but claiming the right to vote and have your vote counted — and being able to vote for more than simply the lesser evil and the maintenance of the status quo — requires continual struggle in the face of lies and teargas. Election season never ends.