UPCOMING CONFERENCE: The first conference ever organized to challenge robotic warfare will be held here in Oregon, April 16 through April 19, near Boeing’s Insitu military drone factory in Hood River.
NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT: President Obama issued his Fiscal Year 2011 budget on February 1, 2010 â€“ a 2,585-page proposed blueprint for addressing the social agonies caused by record-high job loss, a continued sluggish economy and state deficits.
PETER BERGEL: Here, in no particular order, are websites (both articles and organizations) and books that I and others have found helpful in researching peace visioning.
WINSLOW MYERS: The hopeful energy that resulted in the election of President Obama has run smack into the depressing reality of the largest military budget ever submitted in the history of the planet. But effective strategizing for peace can only emerge from an accurate perception of where we are.
NATIONAL PEACE ACADEMY: The National Peace Academyâ€™s understanding of peace is shaped by the definition contained in the Earth Charter: â€œâ€¦peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.â€
PETER BERGEL: Progressives and peace people are probably missing a bet. We could almost certainly be more effective, wield more influence and play a more powerful role in public policy. What we lack is a unified understanding of what we mean by â€œpeaceâ€ and a new peace strategy based on that unified understanding.
PETER BERGEL: The progressive movement needs a comprehensive shared vision and Salemâ€™s MyPeace Project is a step in the direction of generating that vision.
PETER BERGEL: In an enormously provocative article entitled â€œAre Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppressionâ€ psychologist Bruce E. Levine divines what ails the American body politic.
OPW BOARD OF DIRECTORS: It is with a heavy heart that we tell you today that financial pressures have forced upon us the decision to end printed production of The PeaceWorker, although our award-winning news magazine continues to be available online at www.peaceworker.org.
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.
CALENDAR: Late February through June. To offer calendar items, post them at www.oregonprogressivenetwork.org or email them to: email@example.com before the 12th of the month for following month’s issue.
PETER BERGEL: OPW’s award-winning publication The PeaceWorker is now available by subscription on the Internet. By entering a free subscription, you will receive a teaser and a link to a PeaceWorker article every day in your email.
PETER BERGEL: The friendly voice youâ€™re most likely to hear when you telephone OPW is that of our Office Manager, April Wynkoop. After almost two years with OPW, during which she made the office hum and handled all the details that make the difference between a smooth functioning organization and one that staggers along, April is leaving us.
TOM HAYDEN: The Lane Peace Center invites readers to this yearâ€™s peace symposium entitled â€œConfronting Militarism: Democracy vs. Empire.â€ The event will take place March 5 from 6-9 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) in the Center for Meeting & Learning at Lane Community College.
TED GLICK: Thereâ€™s a famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: â€œFirst they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.â€ However, according to Wikipedia, it may be that this concept was first expressed by a U.S. labor leader, Nicholas Klein of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, in 1914.
NORMAN SOLOMON: When the U.S. military began a major offensive in southern Afghanistan over the Presidentsâ€™ Day weekend, the killing of children and other civilians was predictable. Lofty rhetoric aside, such deaths come with the territory of war and occupation.
MARK KASTEL: After over 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the country, who produce organic milk, are celebrating the release of strict new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations that establish distinct benchmarks requiring the grazing and pasturing of dairy cows and other livestock.
STEVE TETREAULT: The nuclear industryâ€™s trade group is signaling it might not go along with the Obama administrationâ€™s plan to withdraw from Yucca Mountain and make it difficult, if not impossible, to revive the proposed nuclear waste repository ever again.
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.
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.
KATE GALBRAITH: The solicitations have been flooding peopleâ€™s mailboxes lately: pay a bit more on your electricity bill for 100 percent clean wind power. Or, the fliers say, buy â€œgreen power certificatesâ€ to offset your global warming emissions.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
PHIL CARVER: While the outcome of Copenhagen negotiations on limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was disappointing, 2009 saw good progress on restricting emissions.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
CLIMATE CHANGE: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will more than wipe out any reduction in carbon from the government’s proposed climate measures …
WORDS TO LIVE BY: Practical ideas for living and teaching peace.
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.
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.
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€
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?
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.
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.
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.