JOHN LAFORGE – In 2010, three high-ranking military officials including Air Force Colonel B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of the US Air Force’s Strategic Plans and Policy Division who had worked directly for the Secretary of the Air Force, published a major policy paper suggesting that the US should unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal by more than 90 percent.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – The on-going radiation releases from jalopy nuclear reactors impact our health and undermine our eco-systems every day, threatening our future on this planet, and standing in the way of the Solartopian Revolution in renewables and efficiency that must ultimately save our planet from ecological and economic ruin.
KEVIN MARTIN – There couldn’t be a better audience, the Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, nor a better time for a president whose days in office are dwindling, for Obama to announce concrete steps toward the goal he enunciated in his Prague speech in 2009, the security of a world free of nuclear weapons.
RIVERA SUN – In an era of climate crisis, Earth Day reminds us of the urgency and importance of transforming our way of life . . . today! One resource for this is to re-imagine these times as an epochal period of great change, one that many people are calling the Great Turning.
ERICA CHENOWETH – Last week, the Vatican hosted a conference on the theme of “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence,” organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace along with the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International. In their concluding appeal to Pope Francis, the 80 conference participants recommended that he reject Just War Doctrine as a viable or productive Catholic tradition. They also recommended that he write a new encyclical laying out the Catholic Church’s commitment to nonviolence in all of its manifestations—including nonviolent action as a means of engaging in conflict, nonviolent conflict resolution as a way of resolving conflict, and nonviolence as the principle doctrine of the Catholic Church.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – A fight now underway over newly-designed U.S. nuclear weapons highlights how far the Obama administration has strayed from its commitment to build a nuclear-free world. The fight, as a recent New York Times article indicates, concerns a variety of nuclear weapons that the U.S. military is currently in the process of developing or, as the administration likes to say, “modernizing.”
TOM HASTINGS – Video footage of the Oregon State Police shooting of armed occupier LaVoy Finicum following a vehicular chase is so very sad to watch. Finicum may have been quite stupid in his belief that American public lands should belong to private ranchers, but he did not deserve to die. Sadly, he arranged for his own death.
PRESS RELEASE – From traditional Tax Day, April 15, 2016, through the final day to file in Maine and Massachusetts on April 19, hundreds of people in communities across the United States will take public action to call for a change federal budget priorities away from military spending and to human and environmental needs. Individually and in groups, many of these concerned activists will divest from the Pentagon by refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes, which help to pay for war.
WINSLOW MYERS – Trump and Sanders in their stark difference both from each other and from establishment candidates exemplify our national duality: fear-mongering and oversimplification from Trump, idealism and authenticity from Sanders. Every four years we have a fresh chance to look both for the real America and for the best possible America. Fifty-seven years ago, King pointed the way.
RON STEINER – Antonyms for “peace” could be any of the following: War, disagreement, hate, discord, agitation, disharmony, distress, frustration, upset, worry, disturbance. We can add the “death penalty” as an antonym to “peace.”
IRA HELFAND – A United Nations meeting in Geneva [in early March] could have enormous implications for United States national security, but it is being ignored by most of the media and by America’s political leaders. It deserves serious attention. A new policy-making body called the Open Ended Working Group [was to] consider ways to break the current impasse in efforts to reduce the danger of nuclear war.
LAURA FINLEY – That conservative forces have long sought to squash dissent and curtail rigorous academic debate on campuses is far from a secret. From the militarization of many campuses, academic repression of faculty, excessive and difficult-to-navigate bureaucracies, limitations on free speech and more, college students, staff and faculty members today face many challenges as they seek to explore, debate, and take action on critical and difficult issues. The gun lobby has seized on this environment of academic stifling, promoting firearms as the answer to an array of problems on campuses and beyond. Don’t want to get raped? Carry a gun, or it’s your own fault. The best way to prevent an active shooter situation? Everyone pack heat. The chilling effect of the campus carry laws that have been enacted has been immediately visible.
DAVID SWANSON – U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call “total market penetration” and “school ownership.” But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students’ permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters’ example.
LAWRENCWE WITTNER – Isn’t it rather odd that America’s largest single public expenditure scheduled for the coming decades has received no attention in the 2015-2016 presidential debates? The expenditure is for a thirty-year program to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal and production facilities. Although President Obama began his administration with a dramatic public commitment to build a nuclear weapons-free world, that commitment has long ago dwindled and died.
REBECCA RIFFKIN – For the first time since Gallup first asked the question in 1994, a majority of Americans say they oppose nuclear energy. The 54% opposing it is up significantly from 43% a year ago, while the 44% who favor using nuclear energy is down from 51%.