Category: Opinion

Letter to the Editor

DIANE RUSHCAMP – Organizing means bringing people together around an issue we all can relate. In this spirit, explain why an action is being requested, and when using acronyms, take the time to spell them out.

Are Banks Soft-Pedaling Clawbacks?

DAVID MCCANN – At a time when news of banking scandals is uncomfortably frequent, a new report says that last year only 17% of global banking organizations “clawed back” compensation payments previously made to employees. The survey of financial-services institutions by the consulting firm Mercer was not expansive, with only 42 banks participating (in addition to 18 insurance companies and three other types of firms). Still, the results may suggest that regulators are not achieving the objectives of their persistent calls for banks to implement clawback policies.

Bill McKibben is Wrong, We Must Not Forget That “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”

NICKOLAS C. ARGUIMBAU – This is a response to Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone article, “Warming’s Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is,” Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. Bill McKibben has once again put his heart and soul into an attempt to stop global warming. That’s more than most of us can say, and I’m afraid much more than I can say. Remember that. He is, like every living, breathing being on this earth, our friend. The stunningly well-written call to arms has apparently at this time already been read 450,000 times on-line and received 3105 written comments.

Book Review: Hail Holy Light

CRAIG CLINE – The title of the book is true to the author’s intent: to explore both the historical and the psychological-social-spiritual events that took place in the 1960s. He makes this exploration personal; a memoir of his own journey and “healing” — from his old self to his new one.

U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership: Where Are the Voices of Afghan Citizens?

ERIN E NIEMELA – As the NATO summit approaches in May, throngs of peace protestors are expected to descend on Chicago to pressure the U.S.-led, 28-nation military alliance for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But for some activists, it will be too late to protest the greatest threat to a peaceful Afghanistan: the signing of the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement.

The Big Money Behind State Laws

NY TIMES EDITORIAL – It is no coincidence that so many state legislatures have spent the last year taking the same destructive actions: making it harder for minorities and other groups that support Democrats to vote, obstructing health care reform, weakening environmental regulations and breaking the spines of public- and private-sector unions. All of these efforts are being backed — in some cases, orchestrated — by a little-known conservative organization financed by millions of corporate dollars.

Keystone XL Pipeline Will Cost 20,000 Jobs Per Year

MARK WIGG – Canada has a surplus of crude oil and the US is pretty much their only market. About 20% of our oil now comes from Canada. According to today’s Toronto Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/crude-glut-in-us-suppresses-canadian-oil-prices/article2330013/) , we are paying $30 less per barrel for tar sands oil because they have no place else to sell it. This is why oil companies want the Keystone XL Pipeline. They want to export oil from Texas.

Uncle Sam is Making the Wrong Choices

NORMAN SOLOMON – On a recent day in Petaluma, two very different events spotlighted grim results of upside-down priorities from the federal government.
Upwards of 600 people gathered for an early breakfast at the Veterans Memorial Hall to raise money for the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), a nonprofit organization that last year sheltered nearly 2,000 individuals, served more than 127,000 hearty meals and distributed 800,000 pounds of food to the needy.

Is Your Cell Phone Spying on You?

JIM COOK – Many people have cell phones. Many of those love their phones, and some are so attached to them that they should seriously consider a surgical implant. I am not one of this crowd and, when I was working, only carried a cell phone under protest and rarely turned it on. I figured “why make myself available day and night to any fool who can dial a phone?”

Congress Needs Basic Reform

DAVID BALL – I am writing to you today to pass on some information that I came upon recently that I thought you at Oregon PeaceWorks might be interested in. This is bipartisan in nature and is aimed at both Democrats and Republicans.

Idealism is the New Realism

PETER BERGEL – I was among the 800 or so who turned out in Salem, OR on Feb. 26 to support preservation of Wisconsin public employees’ collective bargaining rights and protest the increasing domination by corporations of our political and economic system. It was one of those heady moments when ordinary people scent the distant fragrance of “the power of the people.” With the rest of the crowd, I cheered the speakers, smiled at my fellow demonstrators and agreed with others that something seems to be happening at last.

Reader: Tea Party is “Grossly Racist”

RON LOWE – Let’s cut to the chase about the Tea Party. Do you want to spend another year listening to their hypocrisy and tomfoolery? Could it be that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, and Republicans, are getting away with their lies because their base and many Americans are simply dumber than they are?

Peace Workers Must Commit to the Long Haul

PETER BERGEL – Former U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford wrote in his journal on March 20, 1990, “Artists and peace workers are in it for the long haul and not to be judged by immediate results. Redemption comes with care.” Seeing the results of last month’s election, it would be easy to get discouraged. That’s why Stafford’s words are important. It reminds us that to deserve the name “peace worker,” we must take a long view, dedicating ourselves to a lifelong challenge.

Oppose Animal Wrongs

CRAIG AND CHERIE CLINE — We have given our personal support to a great many “animal issues” organizations over the past 40 years. We think it would be highly beneficial for all of the organizations (and at least indirectly beneficial for all the animals) if they were to better engage and network with each other. Their “common cause” is, of course, various kinds of animals and the effects of human actions, or inactions, on those animals.

How Many Attacks on our Liberty Can We Tolerate?

PETER BERGEL — Here’s another intrusion into the rights that most of us thought were sacrosanct in these United States: now government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This development is the result of a Portland case affirmed by the Ninth Circuit, which includes eight western states. Worse yet, the law draws a line of privilege between the rich and the poor. The rich have rights, the poor don’t.

You Can Get It If You Really Want

PETER BERGEL — Two days ago, The PeaceWorker published an explanation by Rep Peter DeFazio of his recent votes on funding the war in Afghanistan. This article was encouraging in that it expressed the misgivings many of us have about the war and those prosecuting it. It also explained in a cogent way what the “best thinking” in liberal Congressional circles is these days concerning how to extricate ourselves from the Vietnam-like mess which the Afghanistan situation has become. At the same time, the article revealed why the peace “movement” needs so desperately to rethink its overall strategy.

PeaceWorker Comments on Social Security Article

PETER BERGEL — For decades, beginning during the Vietnam War, our elected leaders have tried to mask the size of the national debt they have permitted to accumulate by “borrowing” the surplus from the Social Security Trust Fund. This was done without consulting the public in any way, and largely without public knowledge, even though this money was set aside from all workers’ paychecks in an insurance program guaranteed to provide funds for them in their old age. To be precise, the government purchased U.S. T-bonds with our insurance money.

The War Supplemental Vote Was Not Even Close

JOE WALSH —
The vote was not even close and especially when you know that it took a 2/3 vote. The reason for the 2/3 vote to pass, was it was a rule change. We have been informed that all our delegation except that one republican voted against war funding, I want to jump for joy, but can’t — sorry.

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.

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.

Dollars for Death, Pennies for Life

NORMAN SOLOMON: When the U.S. military began a major offensive in southern Afghanistan over the Presidents’ Day weekend, the killing of children and other civilians was predictable. Lofty rhetoric aside, such deaths come with the territory of war and occupation.

Nuclear Power: Still a Bad Idea

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.

Peacebuilding for Conservatives

WINSLOW MYERS: There is big money in polarization, as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other media kingpins understand all too well. But one of the many tragic by-products of our polarized political culture is the demonization of conservatives by progressives.

Where’s the Money?

CRAIG CLINE: On January 4th, the Statesman Journal ran an Associated Press article entitled: “Most state budgets on path to even leaner times.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that state budgets are likely to fall $180 billion short for the new fiscal year. According to the Pew Center on the States, our own Oregon is ninth among the ten “worst” states, and 30th among all states, with a 14.5 percent budget gap for 2009-10 (as of July 2009).

In War, Winners Can Be Losers

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER: Thus far, most of the supporters and opponents of escalating the U.S. war in Afghanistan have focused on whether or not it is possible to secure a military victory in that conflict. But they neglect to consider that, in war, even a winner can be a loser.

It’s Time to Escalate the Peace

RANDALL AMSTER: What if they held a war and no one came? No one was out in the streets, no one paid the “big speech” much mind, no one asked for permission to protest, no one wrote an open letter to the President. No one enlisted for it, no one paid for it, and no one watched it on television.