PETER BERGEL: On the surface things look pretty grim. The chances for any kind of meaningful world peace seem remote. The environment is terribly degraded and seems to be retaliating with global climate change â€ probably the worst crisis the human race has ever confronted. The economic system is in the toilet and may not recover. People are hurting everywhere Ã¢â‚¬â€ from poverty, disease, war, racism, renewed threats to liberty and despair. And yetÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ amazing currents are flowing all over the planet, washing in a harvest of hope that so far has not captured the notice of the mainstream media.
NORMAN SOLOMON: October 2009 began with the New York Times reporting that “the president, vice president and an array of cabinet secretaries, intelligence chiefs, generals, diplomats and advisers gathered in a windowless basement room of the White House for three hours on Wednesday to chart a new course in Afghanistan.”
KEN McCORMACK: When they dismiss myth as merely a lie, scientists display enormous ignorance. Myth, as students of literature know, is the ultimate framework of consciousness. It is Meta-Fact â€” the arena wherein thought takes place â€” and an expression of the collective mind.
WINSLOW MYERS: The challenge of helping Afghanistan while also serving U.S. security goals includes four aspects: first, U.S. fear of more terrorist attacks mounted from the region, second, fear that other powers, such as Russia or Iran, could assume undue influence, third, the potential use of the territory as a route to move resources such as oil and natural gas, and fourth, U.S. unwillingness to admit that the application of power may not part of the solution at all.
LETTERS: This month’s letters include: 1) Drug and Insurance Companies Run DC by Ed Hemmingson; and 2) Schrader Responds re: Afghanistan by Rep. Kurt Schrader.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Three points of view: 1) Fred Miller, Regional Peace Action Organizer; 2) International Peace Bureau (Geneva, Switzerland); and 3) Filmmaker Michael Moore.
DAHR JAMAIL: Afghanistan war resister Travis Bishop has been held largely â€œincommunicadoâ€ in the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Lewis, Washington. Bishop, who is being held by the military as a â€œprisoner of conscience,â€ according to Amnesty International, was transported to Fort Lewis on September 9 to serve a 12-month sentence in the Regional Correctional Facility. He had refused orders to deploy to Afghanistan based on his religious beliefs, and had filed for Conscientious Objector (CO) status.
SCHRADER & DeFAZIO: Reps. Kurt Schrader (OR-5) and Peter DeFazio (OR-4) have joined a bipartisan handful of House members in signing the following letter to President Obama:
MICHAEL MOORE: You want something to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place! ‘Cause I got 15 things you and I can do right now to fight back and try to fix this very broken system.
DAVID SWANSON: The president was holding a press conference inside the White House fence with a bunch of doctors who oppose serious healthcare reform. Donna Smith, star of Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, was standing next to me and telling me that every patient who had appeared in that movie had determined that the healthcare…
DAVID DEGRAW: The past few days have been very revealing when it comes to the financial coup that has occurred here in the U.S. When we say financial coup, we’re not giving you hyperbole. We’re telling you the technical term for what has occurred.
Phil Carver’s Beltway Bulletin will not appear this month because Phil spent the month of October participating the 350-mile Oregon 350 Climate Crisis Walk. The column will return next month.
PAUL HAWKEN: When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.
BEN SPENCER: Barack Obama last July thrashed out a deal which could see Russia and the U.S. scrap about 1,000 nuclear warheads each. Obama, determined to rebuild relations with Russia, signed a preliminary agreement with President Dmitry Medvedev at a Moscow summit.
PETER BERGEL: Each year during the annual Salem Peace Lecture, the Salem Peacemaker Award is bestowed upon an outstanding peace advocate. This year the award was given to Rev. Gail McDougle, pastor of Salem’s First Congregational Church (First Church of Christ) in recognition of her many years of service to the homeless, immigrant communities, the peace community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) community.
CYNTHIA McKINNEY: On July 28, 2005, in a small nondescript courtroom at Ft. Stewart in Georgia, Sgt. Kevin Benderman was sentenced to 15 months for his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Benderman is just one of thousands of modern heroes who have followed their conscience and taken the difficult stand of resistance within the armed forces.
WILLIAM JAMES GIBSON: Like Special Forces commandos, the L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters came at 2 a.m., Jan. 10, 2002, when they knew their enemy would be asleep. After a 71-day siege, the lone warrior knew the end was coming and chained himself into place for one last stand. Mesmerized, the public watched the arrest of a tree-sitter, who was charged with trespassing.
JEFFREY KOVAC: Largely overlooked and unmentioned in the discussion of Americaâ€™s military entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan is the story of some 12,000 conscientious objectors who refused to fight in World War II and instead performed free labor in Civilian Public Service camps across the United States.
Brief insights: 1) Website to Help High Schoolers Opt Out of the Military; 2) Former OPW Staffer Arrested; and 3) Sign of the Times.
ROBERT F. DODGE: President Obama reestablished the United States global leadership role in creating a secure tomorrow as he made his U.N. debut this past week. Speaking before the General Assembly he put forward “four pillars” that he said are “fundamental to the future that we want for our children â€” for a safer America and world.
LAWRENCE S WITTNER: The swirling controversy over President Barack Obamaâ€™s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize brings to mind another controversy that began in October 1985, when the Norwegian committee announced that that yearâ€™s prize would go to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
DAVID HAZEN: Imagine what it would mean to you personally if peace were the guiding principle for everyone around you. Imagine meeting face-to-face with people who already focus on living peacefully. Would that be fun or what? Eugene City of Peace will demonstrate the joy, wonder, and power of community connection and cooperation. Imagine the freedom to be different and be safe!
PETER BERGEL: October 24 marked a day of world-wide demonstrations drawing attention to global heating. It was billed as “the biggest day of action the world has ever seen.” Whether that is true or not, it surely signaled a new level of awareness about the threat posed by the climate crisis.
PETER BERGEL: Legendary labor organizer Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Worker Union (UFW) with Cesar Chavez, was the Salem Peace Lecture speaker this year. She spoke at Willamette University on October 21. She also spoke with The PeaceWorker and other alternative news media. This is a summary of her message from the lecture and the interviews.
PETER BERGEL: Terrific vacation packages to be raffled off in OPW’s popular Great Getaway Raffle are being secured. Tickets will be on sale as soon as all packages are complete. If we have your address, we will mail you a raffle entry form. If we have your email address we will also email you the form. Otherwise, you can check our website www.oregonpeaceworks.org for details.
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