Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Give Peace a Dance 2010 Rocked

PETER BERGEL: Measured by the satisfaction expressed by attendees during the event and afterwards, Give Peace a Dance 2010 – which took place on April 17 — was a grand success. It also raised well over four thousand dollars to keep Oregon PeaceWorks’ projects moving forward.

Why Not Ask for More?

I have been thinking about a verse from Leonard Cohen’s oft-recorded country song Bird on a Wire, a lot recently. Written in 1968, this simple, if depressing, song has been covered by artists as varied as Cohen himself, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, The Bobs, Dave Van Ronk, k.d. laing and the Neville Brothers, to name a few – a sure sign that it speaks to many kinds of people.

Lying About Nuclear Weapons

One of the most popular muckraking American journalists of the late twentieth century, I.F. Stone, once remarked: “All governments lie.” Even a prominent government official — Andrei Gromyko, the veteran Soviet diplomat — once admitted, in a weak moment: “Governments are never sincere.” This gloomy assessment appears all too true when it comes to national security policy, and particularly so with respect to nuclear weapons.

What the Mayor of One Community Hard Hit by War Spending Is Doing About It

Matt Ryan, the mayor of Binghamton, New York, is sick and tired of watching people in local communities “squabble over crumbs,” as he puts it, while so much local money pours into the Pentagon’s coffers and into America’s wars. He’s so sick and tired of it, in fact, that, urged on by local residents, he’s decided to do something about it.

Americans Troubled by Recent Anti-Government Activity

MARIO CANSECO: Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, many adults in the United States believe a terrorist attack carried out by Americans is likely to happen over the next 12 months, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. Most respondents think the Hutaree plot is real and serious, and more than a third believe the Guardians of the Free Republics are a security threat.

Tax Day Penny Polls Reveal Desire for Lower Military Budget

EUGENE’S PENNY POLL: Peace Activists gathered at the Eugene downtown Post Office on Tax Day, April 15th, to call for the re-ordering of federal spending priorities from supporting war to meeting human and environmental needs. One hundred sixteen people took the opportunity of voicing how they would spend their tax dollars when they participated in Eugene’s “Penny Poll.”

Is START Really a Beginning?

LAWRENCE WITTNER: Does the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on April 8, really provide a beginning toward a nuclear-free world? That’s what Obama implied in a statement two weeks earlier. Speaking to reporters at the White House, he described the treaty as an historic step toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”

New USDA Rules Establish Strong Organic Standards for Pasture and Livestock

MARK KASTEL: After over 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the country, who produce organic milk, are celebrating the release of strict new USDA regulations that establish distinct benchmarks requiring the grazing and pasturing of dairy cows and other livestock. Many hope that the new rule will put an end to the abuses that have flooded the organic market with suspect milk from a handful of mega-dairies generally confining thousands of animals in feed lots and barns.

U.N. Chief to Visit Hiroshima on August 6

KYODO NEWS: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has decided to visit Hiroshima on August 6 as the Japanese city marks the 65th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing, according to a senior U.N. official. The plan, expected to be formalized around July, would make Ban the first U.N. chief to attend an annual commemorative ceremony at the city’s Peace Memorial Park.

Nuclear Industry Wants to Relaunch with Public Guarantees

RALPH NADER: A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.

Active Nonviolence Persists in Palestine and Israel

DAVID HARTSOUGH: When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine. The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.

Small Town Makes Bold Demand: Bring Our War Money Home

DUD HENDRICK: Two thirds of those at the March 1 Deer Isle Town Hall Meeting on this picturesque Maine island of 2,400 lobstermen, artists, tradesmen, and “from-awayers” voted to approve an article on the town warrant calling on Congressman Mike Michaud not to fund the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and to take a lead in demanding the same principled position of his colleagues.

We Can’t Afford Afghanistan

PETER G. COHEN: While Moody’s is saying that the U.S. could lose its gold-plated AAA credit rating if the budget deficit is not reduced, President Obama is requesting $33,000,000,000 FY 2010 supplemental to fund the troop buildup in Afghanistan. This is in addition to the war-funding budget for 2011 of $159,300,000,000.

Congressman Obey’s Path to Peace

DAVID SWANSON: Congressman David Obey (D., Wis.) is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He’s in charge of spending our money. For years he spent it on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without any resistance. Until last October, Obey maintained that spending hundreds of billions of our dollars on wars was something he just had no choice about.

Beltway Bulletin: Campaign Finance Reform

PHIL CARVER: On Feb. 11, two key Democrats, Sen. Charles Schumer (NY) and House member Chris Van Hollen (MD), outlined a bill to reform spending on elections. The bill will seek to undo the worst effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Jan 21 in the case of Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

War in a Box

NORMAN SOLOMON: The event on the House floor on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, was monumental — the first major congressional debate about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan…

Attend Give Peace a Dance April 17

GIVE PEACE A DANCE: Oregon PeaceWorks is proud to announce that it will again sponsor Oregon’s best peace party for the 26th straight year. Give Peace a Dance will take place April 17 at the First Congregational Church of Salem (not the Grand Ballroom this year), 700 Marion St. NE, from 6-11 p.m.

Breif-ings

BRIEF INSIGHTS ON: 1) Yucca Mountain eyed for nuclear reprocessing; 2) PBS to cancel “NOW” and retire Bill Moyers’ “Journal”, 3) Be more persuasive; and 4) 2 out of 3 Americans ready to drop “don’t ask, don’t tell.

Howard Zinn and Other Heroes Transformed History

WILLIAM LOREN KATZ: In less than a year the battle for truth has lost three of its most innovative and stalwart voices, historians John Hope Franklin, Ivan Van Sertima and Howard Zinn. Each challenged aspects of the cheerfully bigoted narrative that has passed for history in schools, colleges, texts and the media. Each created works that made history by awakening millions of fellow citizens to a new host of heroic men and women whose daring contributions had been shamefully ignored.

Glimpsing the Depth of U.S. Polarization

DAILY KOS: From January 20 through January 31, 2010, the Daily Kos website commissioned a poll of self-identified Republicans which was conducted by Research 2000. A total of 2003 self-identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. The results will be, to say the least, startling to progressives.

Beltway Bulletin

BRIEFING REPORTS ON: 1) Federal Debt vs. the Current Deficit; 2) Social Security; 3) The Federal Debt; 4) Obama’s Energy and Global Warming Plans; and 5) Tethered Wind – Emerging but Ignored by the Feds.

Pressing the Peace Reset Button

WINSLOW MYERS: The hopeful energy that resulted in the election of President Obama has run smack into the depressing reality of the largest military budget ever submitted in the history of the planet. But effective strategizing for peace can only emerge from an accurate perception of where we are.

Peace, Peacebuilding and Peacelearning

NATIONAL PEACE ACADEMY: The National Peace Academy’s understanding of peace is shaped by the definition contained in the Earth Charter: “…peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.”

Have Americans Given Up?

PETER BERGEL: In an enormously provocative article entitled “Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression” psychologist Bruce E. Levine divines what ails the American body politic.

Howard Zinn and the State of the Union

TOM H. HASTINGS: Howard Zinn has crossed over. He was a mensch, a historian and a peace and justice activist. He was not convinced that nonviolence was always the answer, but he often provided expert testimony for nonviolent resisters seeking help in conducting a robust defense of their actions in opposition to militarism and injustice.