JOSEPH GERSON: Shortly after President Obamaâ€™s Afghanistan War escalation speech, I was contacted by the Voice of Americaâ€™s Russian Language Service. They wanted to interview me. These are the questions they asked: What do you think about Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan? Were you surprised by it? Do you think it would be possible to carry out all Obama’s objectives by 2011? Would Afghanistan, you think, cease being a failed state?
Author: Oregon PeaceWorks
International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush & Co.
FRANCIS A. BOYLE: Champaign, U.S.A./The Hague, Netherlands — Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a complaint with the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings.
BRIEF INSIGHTS: 1) Postwar Deformities; 2) Kaufman Bill to Hold U.S. Contractors Overseas Accountable; 3) Stunning Statistics About the War That Everyone Should Know, by Jeremy Scahill; and 4) NRC Looks to Technology to Cut Energy Use.
Western Shoshone Prevail on Mt. Tenabo – Open Pit Gold Mine Enjoined
CORTEZ HILLS GOLD MINE: On December 3, 2009, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling enjoining the construction and operation of the Cortez Hills gold mine, proposed by Barrick Gold Corporation. The Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which had denied the motion for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiffs.
WRL Activist Gets Jail Time for “Blood Money”
MATT DALOISIO: Three Washington DC-area peace proponents interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy last May 21, calling out “No more blood money for wars!” and “End the wars now.”
Climate Change Ups and Downs in 2009
PHIL CARVER: While the outcome of Copenhagen negotiations on limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was disappointing, 2009 saw good progress on restricting emissions.
Democrats Boosting Right-Wing Populism
NORMAN SOLOMON: In his triumphant speech on election night, the next senator from Massachusetts should have thanked top Democrats in Washington for all they did to make his victory possible.
PSR Announces Greenfield Peace Writing Contest
KELLY CAMPBELL: With great pleasure, I announce the second annual Greenfield Peace Writing Contest, sponsored by Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and named for Del Greenfield, our first executive director. Any 11th or 12th grade student in Oregon may enter by submitting an original piece of fiction, poem, or essay (maximum 600 words) reflecting on the following question: In a world where we struggle with wars, injustice, violence in our communities and the threat of environmental devastationâ€¦what does peace mean to you?
Middle East Conflict: Fighting to Improve the Past
VALERIE SATUREN: With the rising power of Hamas and a rightward shift in Israeli politics, a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians appears farther out of reach than it has in decades. Meanwhile, the window of opportunity is closing on a two-state solution to the conflict.
Lowering the Bar: How Young is Too Young to Recruit?
JON LETMAN: How old is old enough for students to be approached by military recruiters? High school? Junior high? Fourth grade? How about ten weeks into kindergarten?
Privatizing the Military: Full Speed Ahead Under Obama
JEREMY SCAHILL: A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskillâ€™s Contract Oversight subcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it.
Our Security is Threatened and We Donâ€™t Have Time for War
PETER BERGEL: The government and the Pentagon are right. Our national security is definitely at risk. Afghanistan? Iraq? Al Qaeda? Small potatoes. Yemen? Iran? Even smaller. Nope, the big threats are not military. Nor can they be addressed by the military.
Government Hinders Gaza Freedom March
JEAN ATHEY: We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day â€” they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19. Typically, they surround us with moveable steel fences, which they line up behind and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice.
J Street Comes to Eugene
COMING TO EUGENE OREGON: J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, is setting up shop in Eugene. Its official opening will be celebrated Thursday, February 4th at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave.
Unique Peace Video
KSIYA SIMONOVA: The winner of “Ukraineâ€™s Got Talent,â€ Kseniya Simonova, 24, draws a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her unusual talent is mesmeric to watch.
Nuclear Terrorism: How It Can Be Prevented
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER: The recent furor over an unsuccessful terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner is distracting us from considering the possibility of a vastly more destructive terrorist act: exploding a nuclear weapon in a heavily-populated area.
Native Nations Respond to Climate Change Threats
VALERIE TALIMAN: Nearly 400 Native leaders, scholars, elders and Tribal College students from across the country, joined by scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), came together at a watershed gathering, the Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop II, to formulate a collective response to the far-reaching impacts of climate change on Native lands and communities.
Solarize Portland Makes Solar More Affordable
SOLAR POWER: Homeowners in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have banded together to buy and install solar panels, knocking significant chunks off the price through high-volume purchasing. The 6-month-old Solarize Portland program has wildly exceeded expectations.
Whereâ€™s the Money?
CRAIG CLINE: On January 4th, the Statesman Journal ran an Associated Press article entitled: â€œMost state budgets on path to even leaner times.â€ 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 â€œworstâ€ states, and 30th among all states, with a 14.5 percent budget gap for 2009-10 (as of July 2009).
Youth Empowered Action Camp
NORA KRAMER: Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is training the next generation of leaders and activists who will work for the environment, peace, animal rights, justice, gay rights, etc. We will be having three sessions next summer — two at last yearâ€™s beautiful venue near Santa Cruz, CA, and one just outside Portland, Oregon.
Global Warming Caused by Global Warring
CLIMATE CHANGE: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will more than wipe out any reduction in carbon from the government’s proposed climate measures …
100 Ways You Can Help Stop Violence
WORDS TO LIVE BY: Practical ideas for living and teaching peace.
Letters to the Editor
LETTERS: 1) “Lack of Draft Leads to Apathy” from Carla Mikkelson; and 2) A poetic letter, “Where Does the President Go?” from Virginia Bailey or Portland, OR.
New Afghan War Cost Analysis
JO COMERFORD: The presidentâ€™s $30 billion figure for getting those 30,000-plus new surge troops into Afghanistan is going to prove a â€œthrough-the-basement estimate.â€ As for the dates for getting them in and beginning to get them out? Well, itâ€™s grain-of-salt time there, too. According to Steven Mufson and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, some of the fuel storage facilities being built to support the surge troops wonâ€™t even be completed by the time the first of them are scheduled to leave the country, 18 months from now.
Traumatized Soldiers Bring the War Home
ROBERT C. KOEHLER: Thereâ€™s no armor, it turns out, for conscience. So our men and women are coming home from the killing fields wounded in their heads, used up, greeted only by the militaryâ€™s own meat grinder of inadequate health care and intolerance for â€œweakness.â€
Are Americans a Broken People?
BRUCE E. LEVINE: Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?
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.
PGE to Close Boardman Coal Plant
BOB JENKS: Portland General Electric (PGE) announced January 14, 2010 that, rather than attempt to upgrade its Boardman coal fired power plant and operate it until 2040 or longer, it now wants retire the plant in 2020. A number of folks in the Northwest have been working to stop PGE from investing $500 million in new pollution control and operating the plant indefinitely into the future. Investing that kind of money in a pulverized coal plant makes little sense for the planet and is a big financial risk to customers.