DAVID SWANSON – This, dear world, is more or less how the world’s largest-ever killing machine operates. It turns its eyes away from the machine’s work and, if pushed, debates the care of the machine itself — maintaining more or less complete obliviousness to the horrors the machine produces in those far away places where you live and die.
Category: March 2014
Thanks for Killing the Planet, Boomers!
TIM DONOVAN – The world as we know it is ending, and the indifference by Americans, politicians and mainstream press is maddening.
NSA Phone Collection Does Not Prevent Terrorism, According to Report
ANITA KUMAR – [January 13, 2014] A new analysis of 225 terrorism cases in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks indicates that the National Security Agency’s massive collection of phone records had a “minimal” on preventing acts of terrorism, according to a report released Monday by the New America Foundation, a Washington nonprofit group.
From Helen to Hillary: Women in War
DAVID SWANSON – The relationship of women to war has changed dramatically in recent decades, even while remaining the same. But make no mistake, waging war at the behest of female politicians is no different than waging war at the command of male politicians.
Military Recruiters Bully Counter-Recruiters in Portland School
ANGIE HINES – On March 13, a fellow counter military recruiter and I went to Cleveland High School to talk with students. We were in a room filled with uniformed
military recruiters, many more than necessary to staff a table. The Army, Army National Guard, Navy, and Marines were there. Within three to four minutes of our beginning to speak, we were essentially forced out of the room. Our treatment at the hands of the military recruiters was pathetic and not to be tolerated.
Peacebuilding: Powerful New Frame for the Peace Movement
MATTHEW ALBRACHT – The prevailing notion and dominant cultural story is that violence is inevitable and there is really nothing significant we can do about it. Luckily, this is a false assumption. Many new methodologies are emerging, at almost every level of society, which are proving to be highly effective ways to address conflict before it erupts into violence — or to turn it around more quickly when violence is already ensuing. Conflict may be inevitable, but violence does not have to be.
Thermonuclear Monarchy and Revolution
DAVID SWANSON – Do nuclear weapons, by the nature of their technology, violate the U.S. Constitution? Do they violate the basic social contract and all possibility of self-governance? Thus argues a new book called Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom by Elaine Scarry. It’s not unheard of for people to see out-of-control nuclear spending as a symptom of out-of-control military spending, itself a symptom of government corruption, legalized bribery, and a militaristic culture. Scarry’s argument suggests a reversal: the root of all this evil is not the almighty dollar but the almighty bomb.
Close Scrutiny of Pentagon Budget Shows Lavish Spending
JON RAINWATER – When people hear “the Army is being cut to pre-World War II levels,” they are thinking about military forces as a whole. But the Air Force didn’t even exist in 1940. The Marine Corps has grown exponentially since that earlier era. After the post- 9/11 spike is trimmed, a force far larger than before World War II remains. But the bigger problem with the reduction narrative is that the proposed $496 billion for the Department of Defense represents historically sky-high spending.
Small Arizona Town Challenges Border Patrol Excesses
JOHN HEID – â€œYou have no rights here!â€ barked a U.S. Border Patrol agent to a resident of Arivaca, AZ who was passing through a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint 23 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. This remark confirms a sense of violation of rights that many borderlands residents have when encountering one of the 71 permanent or tactical checkpoints scattered across the southwestern U.S.
National Security: Going â€œUpâ€ or â€œDown?â€
SUSAN C. STRONG – In his January State of the Union message, President Obama said two noteworthy things: the first was â€œAmerica must move off a permanent war footing.â€ Of course this remark was preceded and followed by a lot of predictable stuff about keeping America strong by military means. But the President did preface the bold remark Iâ€™ve cited above with another comment of interest, â€œBut I strongly believe that our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone.â€ What if, instead of just dismissing these items as pure political boilerplate, we edit his statements just a bit.
Peace Activists Challenge Government Harrassment
ANTI-WAR COMMITTEE – On Feb. 26, 2014 we were successful in getting unsealed the application and affidavit used to obtain the search warrants for the 2010 raids on the Anti-War Committee office and on the homes of Mid-west anti-war and international solidarity activists. A review of these documents shows not only the extent to which law enforcement will twist the truth in pursuit of a target, but also the obsession of the U.S. government with any opposition to the U.S. imperialist agenda and the depths to which they will go to suppress freedom of thought and speech.
Aftermath Would be Worse than a Nuclear War
KENT SHIFFERD – What could be worse than a nuclear war? A nuclear famine following a nuclear war. And what follows famine is epidemic disease. What can you do? The only way to assure ourselves this global disaster will not happen is to join the global movement to abolish all weapons of mass destruction.
Obama Pronouncements about International Law Are Hypocritical
NORMAN SOLOMON – International law is suddenly very popular in Washington. President Obama responded to Russian military intervention in the Crimea by accusing Russia of a â€œbreach of international law.â€ . . . Unfortunately, during the last five years, no world leader has done more to undermine international law than Barack Obama. He treats it with rhetorical adulation and behavioral contempt, helping to further normalize a might-makes-right approach to global affairs that is the antithesis of international law.
The Man Behind the Exploding Trains
ERIC DE PLACE and RICH FELDMAN – In our previous installment, we explored how unsafe DOT-111s, the Ford Pinto of rail cars, make up the vast majority of oil-filled tank cars now riding the rails in North America. With DOT-111s, there is no margin for error. A serious derailment will almost always lead to oil spills or explosions. But if they are so clearly dangerous, why are these tank cars still on the rails? The reason, in short, is because the railroad and rail car industries have opposed new safety regulations. (The oil and ethanol industries have abetted their cause.)
The Purposely Confusing World of Energy Politics
RICHARD HEINBERG – Life often presents us with paradoxes, but seldom so blatant or consequential as the following. Read this sentence slowly: Today it is especially difficult for most people to understand our perilous global energy situation, precisely because it has never been more important to do so. Got that? No? Okay, let me explain. I must begin by briefly retracing developments in a seemingly unrelated fieldâ€”climate science.
Encouraging News from Oregonâ€™s Junior Senator
JEFF MERKLEY – As a new member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve fought to invest in, rather than undermine, our environment. And I have some good news: in the compromise spending bill that passed Congress (in late January), we secured renewed support for our Northwest environment, and succeeded in pushing back on several policy riders that could have devastated our air, our water, and our efforts to combat climate change.
Update: Radiation Leaks from New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Facility
SUSAN GORDON – [February 21, 2014] Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) has carefully followed information about the radiation leak from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) that was first identified at approximately 11:30 pm on Friday, February 14, 2014. (See PeaceWorker article, “Excessive Radiation Levels Detected at New Mexico Waste Site,” published Feb. 22, 2014.)