Tag: Peter Bergel

Keep Your Eye on Trump’s Main Agenda

PETER BERGEL – Not so fast, fellow progressives! We’ve underestimated Donald Trump a couple of times now. Let’s not do it again. He may be all the things we think he is – racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, homophobic, anti-Muslim, power-mad. At the same time, though, he’s also getting away with a deadly distraction game – one which threatens life on this planet. If you think he’s dumb, think again.

Focus on the Silver Lining

PETER BERGEL – The election is over and Trump won. In a country with a sane election system, he would not have, but we have the Electoral College, so he did. In Joe Hill’s immortal words, “Don’t mourn; organize!”

Former OPW Director on Peace Mission to Russia

PETER BERGEL – As some of you know, I’ll leave on June 15 to join a citizen diplomacy peace delegation to Russia for two weeks. I will take with me a peace message from the mayor and mayor-elect of Salem, OR and will, I hope, bring back peace messages from Russian citizens, decision-makers, academicians and journalists. I will also listen carefully to the Russians’ concerns, especially those that concern our own country.

DAVID SWANSON – In the early 1980s almost nobody from the United States traveled to the Soviet Union or vice versa. The Soviets wouldn’t let anybody out, and good Americans were disinclined to visit the Evil Empire. But a woman in California named Sharon Tennison took the threat of nuclear war with the seriousness it deserved and still deserves. She got a group of friends together and asked the Russian consulate for permission to visit Russia, make friends, and learn.

Terrorism is Un-Islamic; Terrorism Is Un-American

FODAY JUSTICE DARBOE – In the wake of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris and the double suicide bombing in Beirut on November 12th, many Muslims took to Twitter to loudly and unequivocally condemn the terrorists attacks with the hashtags— #NotInMyName, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist, but is this enough to counter Islamic extremism? When will “moderate Muslims” stand up and speak against the terror and mayhem committed in the name of Islam?

PETER BERGEL – Thanks to Foday Darboe for setting an example to those he calls “moderate Muslims.” I will follow his lead to set an example for “patriotic Americans.”

Give Peace a Dance Slated for March 23

PETER BERGEL – The best peace party in Oregon, Give Peace a Dance, will shake, rattle and roll Salem’s Grand Ballroom (187 High St. NE) from 6-11 p.m. on March 23rd. The event features superb entertainment, silent and oral auctions, delicious food and a no-host bar. The event benefits Oregon PeaceWorks, a statewide peace, justice and sustainability organization based in Salem.

Message from Sen. Merkley About Military Spending

JEFF MERKLEY – This letter is a reply from Sen. Jeff Merkley to PeaceWorker Editor Peter Bergel in response to Bergel’s request that Merkley support major cuts to the military budget during the upcoming “fiscal cliff” debate, rather than allow cuts to social security, medicare, or other remaining components of the safety net. Let’s hold Merkley to this encouraging approach.

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.

Take Action to Oppose FBI Raids

PETER BERGEL — On October 1, The PeaceWorker ran an article on the frightening and unconscionable FBI raids on peace workers that happened in the Minneapolis area and elsewhere. Since then, some activists have refused to cooperate with a Grand Jury, thereby running the risk that they will be jailed.

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.

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.

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.

Where There is No Vision, the People Perish

PETER BERGEL: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” says the King James Bible in Proverbs 29:18. Certainly the people are in danger of perishing today. If not from wars and nuclear weapons, then from global warming. If not from that, then from a series of other threats. Could vision be what rescues us?

Introduction to Cutting Your Carbon Footprint

PETER BERGEL: Helping you and encouraging you to cut your carbon footprint is a major purpose of OPW’s 5% Solution to the Climate Crisis project. In addition to the information provided in this PeaceWorker’s focus topic articles, you will find a great deal more about this subject on OPW’s website, www.oregonpeaceworks.org. On our homepage, click the 5% Solution link.

OPW, Allies Meet with Congressman Kurt Schrader

PETER BERGEL: On November 9, a delegation organized by Oregon PeaceWorks met with Oregon’s 5th District congressional representative Kurt Schrader. On the agenda were the wars in the Middle East, global warming and health care. The meeting included representatives from OPW, Veterans for Peace, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Fellowship of Reconciliation and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Think Outside the Box

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 ” 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 — from poverty, disease, war, racism, renewed threats to liberty and despair. And yet… 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.

Lust for Profit is Out of Control

PETER BERGEL: $700 billion is a number that rings a bell for most Americans these days. It was the first installment U.S. taxpayers were forced to pony up for Wall Street to “stimulate” the economy. But, according to analyst Don Monkrude, that sum is also, coincidentally, the amount by which the 400 richest Americans increased their net worth during the Bush years.

OPW Develops Peace Visioning Project

PETER BERGEL: The peace movement in the United States has had few new ideas for decades. We are still using the main organizing tools we used in the 60s and before: demonstrating, educating, lobbying and electioneering. Occasionally we also engage in civil resistance direct actions to halt something particularly egregious. Most of these approaches are drawing less support than they used to (with the notable exception of the School of the Americas protests each fall at Ft. Benning, GA).

Burrito Booth Generates Fun, Dollars

PETER BERGEL: OPW’s annual Burrito Booth fundraiser at the Salem Art Fair generated about $3,500 for OPW projects as well as giving some 60-70 volunteers a great chance to work together in a delightful, peaceful atmosphere serving organic vegetarian burritos to hungry fairgoers.

Are We Facing a Worse Economic Hit?

PETER BERGEL: In the past half year we have come to realize that our economic system is a lot more vulnerable than we thought, and that economic threats can come from directions most of us had never considered. While our government obsesses about terrorists of the Al Qaeda variety, we have recently been shown that an economic terrorist can attack us right where we live without firing a shot or awakening the retaliatory frenzy that 9-11 unleashed. Once again, we see that, as a nation, we are incapable of recognizing the real threats to our national security. Only threats that can be met by military force are deemed worthy of our attention. When a threat does get our attention, we respond with a “War on” something — drugs, terror, poverty, hunger — although that military approach has been shown over and over to be ineffective and even counter-productive.