Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Inside 350.org and Why They Rise for Climate

350 not only networks people together at the grassroots level, but connects fellow climate change activist groups and unites them for major conglomerate projects and demonstrations. It helps smaller organizations make big changes together. There may not be a more significant presence in climate change activism than 350.

The Great American Shakedown

CHRIS HEDGES – There is zero chance Trump will be removed from office in a trial in the Senate. The Democratic Party elites have admitted as much. They carried out, they argue, their civic and constitutional duty. But here again they lie. They picked out what was convenient to impeach Trump and left untouched the rotten system they helped create. The divisions among Americans will only widen. The hatreds will only grow. And tyranny will wrap its deadly tentacles around our throats.

188 Democrats Join GOP to Hand Trump $738 Billion Military Budget That Includes ‘Space Force’

JAKE JOHNSON – More than 180 House Democrats joined a nearly united Republican caucus Wednesday night to pass a sweeping $738 billion military spending bill that gives President Donald Trump his long-sought “Space Force,” free rein to wage endless wars, and a green light to continue fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

Another Trump Crime: Zealots in High Office

JAMES A. HAUGHT – Back in 2003, in a top-secret international phone call, President George W. Bush urged French President Jacques Chirac to join America in invading Iraq on grounds that Christian nations must thwart the Satanic forces of Gog and Magog. Chirac was baffled by such crackpottery. A few French newspapers wrote derisive sneers about the born-again U.S. leader. Today, it’s déjà vu all over again. Religious kooks in high office are an absurd facet of the Republican Trump administration.

Letter to Kings Bay Plowshares Judge Calls for Gratitude

PETER BERGEL – Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has the unenviable task to sentence the Kings Bay Plowshares actionists recently found guilty of conspiracy, destruction of government property, depredation and trespassing for a 2018 anti-nuclear weapons protest at Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia. I write to her urging a very light punishment, for the very specific reason that issuing such a sentence is to act in the service of gratitude. I invite you to write your own letter.

American Exceptionalism Is Killing The Planet

WILLIAM J. ASTORE – Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch, I’ve been arguing against America’s forever wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the Greater Middle East and Africa, even as foreign peoples pay a far higher price in lives lost and cities ruined. And I keep asking myself: Why, in this century, is the distinctive feature of America’s wars that they never end? Why do our leaders persist in such repetitive folly and the seemingly eternal disasters that go with it?

Brown Needs to Join Urban and Rural Oregonians in Standing Against Jordan Cove

KRISTINE CATES and EMMA MARRIS – Seldom does one issue unite Oregonians like this one. Last month, nearly 1,000 of us from all over the state met at the state Capitol to demand that Gov. Kate Brown do all she can to stop the ill-advised Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline. . . . Governor, the time to oppose the Jordan Cove LNG project is now.

Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge

NORMAN SOLOMON – The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it’s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the “threat” of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Raising the Stakes in the Struggle over Immigration Detention

ANDREW MOSS – As the struggle for immigrant rights continues to be fought across America, new battlegrounds may come into view, then fade from public attention. What hasn’t yet come to full attention, however, is the struggle over the future of immigration detention itself, a conflict whose outcome may have far-reaching consequences for immigration reform in years to come.

The Greatest Scam in History: How the Energy Companies Took Us All

NAOMI ORESKES – Scientists have been seriously investigating the subject of human-made climate change since the late 1950s, but science failed to have the necessary impact in significant part because of disinformation promoted by the major fossil-fuel companies, which have succeeded in diverting attention from climate change and successfully blocking meaningful action.

The Crass Warfare of Billionaires Against Sanders and Warren

NORMAN SOLOMON – The billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, there’s a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires — or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation — in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

RIPPLE, WOLF, NEWSOME, BARNARD and MOOMAW – Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

Conclusions of the “C40 Report” Questioned

RICK BARNETT – Any time you see a cheery climate story, it’s about a subset of the subject-of-story’s emissions. When a city does this, the headline always associates the cheery news with the city’s name, rather than noting that it’s only about a portion of city operations, which represent a miniscule percentage of emissions from the entire city. The key to a claim about “peaked” emissions is picking the correct subset of emission sources from total emissions.

Movement Violence Can Lead to a Decline in Public Support

J. MUNOZ and E. ANDUIZA – The choice between violence and nonviolence is available to any protest movement. Opting to engage in violence is more costly to the movement because it increases the chance of state repression and also reinforces the claims of those who oppose the movement. The academic research on this topic shows that nonviolent movements are more successful in achieving their long-term goals, whether influencing policy or bringing about regime change. Many researchers theorize that broad-based public support for protest movements is instrumental to their success and that the use of violence may weaken this support.

Why Those “Endless Wars” Must Never End

ANDREW BACEVICH – Here’s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washington’s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and they’ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).

Should You Be Afraid of the Fascists in Your Community?

WIM LAVEN – I get accused of “being over-the-top” and using hyperbole by conservative friends and acquaintances with increasing frequency. This is caused, in large part, by me being a vocal and active contributor to the public discourse about issues of peace and justice. I am called a “snowflake” for responding to those who support—or even promote—rape culture. My conservative friends say they cannot take me seriously, which is frustrating, but at least it is honest. The question is: how seriously should we consider the statements others make?

What Is the Real Status of Democracy in Russia?

NATYLIE BALDWIN: An interview with Nicolai N. Petro – I conducted an email interview with Nicolai N. Petro, professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island, on the state of democracy in today’s Russia, after having read his eye-opening 2018 journal article, “Are We Reading Russia Right?” His full biography is below the interview.

PLOWSHARES FOUND GUILTY

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7 – More than 18 months after they snuck onto the site of one of the largest known collections of nuclear weaponry in the world, a jury found the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 guilty of all four of the charges brought against them.

Taking Next Steps toward Nuclear Abolition

KATHY KELLY – Many who are working for the abolition of nuclear weapons are deeply disturbed by the madness of maintaining nuclear weapons arsenals and believe such weapons threaten planetary survival. They are joined by people everywhere who worry that, similar to the 1930s, citizens of countries possessing nuclear weapons sleepwalk toward utter disaster.

Carbon Emissions From 30 of the World’s Largest Cities Are Already Dropping Since Signing Climate Pact

C40 CITIES and GOOD NEW NETWORK – The world’s leading scientists have calculated that global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. New analysis published ahead of the C40 World Mayors Summit confirms that 30 of the world’s largest cities, representing more than 58 million urban citizens, have now reached this crucial milestone.

Unasked Questions about US-Ukrainian Relations

STEPHEN F. COHEN – Is U.S. national security being trumped by loathing for Trump? We need to know fully the origins of Russiagate, arguably the worst presidential scandal in American history, and if Ukrainian authorities can contribute to that understanding, they should be encouraged to do so. As I’ve argued repeatedly, fervent anti-Trumpers must decide whether they loathe him more than they care about American and international security.

The US Is Spending $1.25 Trillion Annually on War

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG and MANDY SMITHBERGER – There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the U.S. military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at U.S. defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.

Expanding the Concept and Practice of Nonviolence

MIKE YARROW – True “nonviolence” is an affirmative presence of an alternative force for change, which Gandhi called, “a force more powerful.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement is, “. . . true nonviolence is more than the absence of violence. It is the persistent and determined application of peaceable power to offenses against the community.”

Americans Want Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, not just Limitations!

TIMMON WALLIS – September 23, 2019: A NuclearBan.US poll, conducted on its behalf this week[1] by YouGov, reveals that 49% of Americans think that the US should work with the other nuclear armed countries to eliminate all nuclear weapons from all countries, in line with the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (“Nuclear Ban Treaty”). Only 32% think that the US should continue to ignore the new treaty and hold on to its nuclear weapons regardless of what other countries think or do, while a further 19% say they “don’t know”.

Accepting “Partial Scores” from New Media Leads to Poor Understanding of Issues

JEFF COHEN – In the old George Carlin joke, the TV sportscaster announces: “Here’s a partial score from the West Coast – Los Angeles 6.” For a brilliant comedian like Carlin – who skewered corporate power, class structure and political/media propaganda – that’s one of his more innocuous jokes. But it’s sharply relevant today as corporate TV news outlets serve up a series of partial scores. Call it “propaganda by omission.”

How the Youth-led Climate Strikes Became a Global Mass Movement

NICK ENGELFRIED – It began as a call to action from a group of youth activists scattered across the globe, and soon became what is shaping up to be the largest planet-wide protest for the climate the world has ever seen. The Global Climate Strike is the result of a whole new generation taking bold action and could be the turning point for grassroots resistance to fossil fuels.