Category: February 2013

35 Years in Prison for Embarrassing H-Bomb Guards?

JOHN LAFORGE – Risking your personal freedom for a worthy cause is as American as apple pie. But nonviolently putting your life at risk in defense of others is so rare that the actor is sometimes dismissed as crazy. Some people think the Transform Now Plowshares activists were crazy for sneaking into a nuclear weapons factory — the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. — in order to make a direct, unequivocal and crystal clear demand for an end to the expensive, poisonous, criminal and delusional self-destructiveness of building nuclear bombs.

How Climate Change Affects Communities of Color

HILARY O. SHELTON – With the devastation from Hurricane Sandy fresh in our minds, it is time to deliberately address the menacing climate change concerns that are facing our planet and their disparate impacts on communities of color. With this in mind, we must also recognize and address the air pollutants contributing to issues of climate change. In 2005, many thought Hurricane Katrina would force politicians and decision-makers to pay attention to the buildup of harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and to build momentum for change. Yet here we are again, seven years later, rebuilding after a catastrophic super-storm, which ravaged the Caribbean and U.S. Atlantic Coast. During the election season, the topic of climate change was barely broached. However, President Obama gave it some much needed attention in his victory speech. And, as many know, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and our allies in the environmental justice movement have been speaking with a sense of critical urgency on this issue for years.

Ten Years After Powell’s U.N. Speech, Old Hands Are Ready for More Blood

NORMAN SOLOMON – When Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003, countless journalists in the United States extolled him for a masterful performance — making the case that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the speech later became notorious should not obscure how easily truth becomes irrelevant in the process of going to war.

Power of One: Ronny Edry Creates Israel ♥ Iran Image

REV. JIM HETZER – An Israeli graphic designer overhead a conversation at a grocery in Tel Aviv between the owner and a customer. The owner said that soon Iran would send 10,000 missiles to rain down on Israel. The customer said it would be 10,000 missiles a day. The Israeli graphic designer is named Ronny Edry. He has heard this kind of story over and over for the last 10 years. He felt that he needed to do something to help the situation.

Congress Must Act to Save Lives: Reauthorize VAWA

LAURA FINLEY – Domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence endured by women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-fourth of U.S women will endure an abusive relationship, while some 1,300 people are killed each year by intimate partners. Thankfully, we have come a long way since the 1970s, when laws did not directly prohibit domestic violence, police often failed to respond, and few resources were available to victims. Yet we stand at the brink of losing much of that progress if Congress does not act now to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Introduces Bill to Audit the Pentagon

CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE – Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2013” for increased transparency and accountability in the defense budget. This bipartisan bill will cut the budget of any Federal agency by five percent that does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. To protect benefits for the nation’s veterans, military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts.

Nader: Postal Crisis “Manufactured”

INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY – Reuters reported this week that President Obama has endorsed a plan to “rescue” the Postal Service, including by reducing service one day a week.

Bloomberg reports: “A measure that may put the U.S. Postal Service under a control board, end to-the-door mail delivery and close post offices using the same process as military-base shutdowns was approved by a U.S. House panel. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican, was approved today with Republican support and Democratic opposition.

Nuclear Weapons Waste in Your Water Bottle, Hip Replacement, Baby’s Toys, Jungle Gym?

JOHN LAFORGE – Even the deregulation-happy Wall St. Journal sounded shocked: “The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products.”

Peace Movement Drones On and On: Wisdom from the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk

MIKE FERNER – During the Vietnam war, there was a vibrant, courageous resistance movement within the military itself. Young men and some women did anything they could to end the killing. They demonstrated, sabotaged military equipment, and fragged their officers. They also published dozens of underground newspapers, one of which was put out by the crew of the carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, cheekily called Kitty Litter.