Sunday, July 31, 2016

There’s No Business Like the U.S. Global Arms Business

Published on Portside (https://portside.org)

There’s No Business Like the U.S. Global Arms Business


July 30, 2016

William D. Hartung

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
TomDispatch
https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/field/image/saudiss-13.jpg?itok=npnPNDja

  When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year [1], you’d expect to hear about it.  Not so with the global arms trade.  It’s good for one or two stories [2] a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

  It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers [3], including cluster bombs [4], to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous [5] dispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria [6], or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft [7].  And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, U.S. arms sales to his or her country might generate an article [8] or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

  So here’s a question that’s puzzled me for years (and I’m something of an arms wonk): Why do other major U.S. exports -- from Hollywood movies [9] to Midwestern grain shipments [10] to Boeing airliners [11] -- garner regular coverage while trends in weapons exports remain in relative obscurity?  Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?

   The numbers should stagger anyone.  According to the latest figures available from the Congressional Research Service, the United States was credited with more than half [1] the value of all global arms transfer agreements in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are available. At 14%, the world’s second largest supplier, Russia, lagged far behind.  Washington’s “leadership” in this field has never truly been challenged.  The U.S. share has fluctuated between one-third and one-half of the global market for the past two decades, peaking at an almost monopolistic 70% of all weapons sold in 2011.  And the gold rush continues. Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, who heads the Pentagon’s arms sales agency, euphemistically known as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, estimates [12] that arms deals facilitated by the Pentagon topped $46 billion in 2015, and are on track to hit $40 billion in 2016.

  To be completely accurate, there is one group of people who pay remarkably close attention to these trends -- executives of the defense contractors that are cashing in on this growth market.  With the Pentagon and related agencies taking in “only” about$600 billion a year [13] -- high by historical standards but tens of billions of dollars less than hoped for by the defense industry -- companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have been looking to global markets as their major source of new revenue.

   In a January 2015 investor call, for example, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson was asked whether the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and five other powers might reduce tensions in the Middle East, undermining the company’s strategy of increasing its arms exports to the region.  She responded [14] that continuing “volatility” in both the Middle East and Asia would make them “growth areas” for the foreseeable future.  In other words, no worries.  As long as the world stays at war or on the verge of it, Lockheed Martin’s profits won’t suffer -- and, of course, its products will help ensure that any such “volatility” will prove lethal indeed.

  Under Hewson, Lockheed has set a goal of getting at least 25% [15] of its revenues from weapons exports, and Boeing has done that company one better.  It’s seeking to make overseas arms sales 30% [16] of its business.

Good News From the Middle East (If You’re an Arms Maker)

  Arms deals are a way of life in Washington.  From the president on down, significant parts of the government are intent on ensuring that American arms will flood the global market and companies like Lockheed and Boeing will live the good life.  From the president on his trips abroad to visit allied world leaders to the secretaries of state and defense to the staffs of U.S. embassies, American officials regularly act as salespeople for the arms firms.  And the Pentagon is their enabler.  From brokering, facilitating, and literally banking the money from arms deals to transferring weapons to favored allies on the taxpayers' dime, it is in essence the world’s largest arms dealer.

   In a typical sale, the U.S. government is involved [17] every step of the way.  The Pentagon often does assessments of an allied nation’s armed forces in order to tell them what they “need” -- and of course what they always need is billions of dollars in new U.S.-supplied equipment.  Then the Pentagon helps negotiate the terms of the deal, notifies Congress [18] of its details, and collects the funds from the foreign buyer, which it then gives to the U.S. supplier in the form of a defense contract.  In most deals, the Pentagon is also the point of contact for maintenance and spare parts for any U.S.-supplied system. The bureaucracy that helps make all of this happen, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is funded from a 3.5% surcharge on the deals it negotiates. This gives it all the more incentive to sell, sell, sell.

  And the pressure for yet more of the same is always intense, in part because the weapons makers are careful to spread their production facilities to as many states and localities as possible.  In this way, they ensure that endless support for government promotion of major arms sales becomes part and parcel of domestic politics.

  General Dynamics, for instance, has managed to keep its tank plants in Ohio and Michigan running through a combination ofadd-ons [19] to the Army budget -- funds inserted into that budget by Congress even though the Pentagon didn’t request them -- and exports to Saudi Arabia [20].  Boeing is banking on a proposed deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait [21] to keep its St. Louis production line open, and is currently jousting with the Obama administration to get it to move more quickly on the deal.  Not surprisingly, members of Congress and local business leaders in such states become strong supporters of weapons exports.

   Though seldom thought of this way, the U.S. political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order.  In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms.  During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion [22] in weaponry worldwide -- more, that is, than any U.S. administration since World War II.  In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions [23] on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components -- including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes -- with far less scrutiny than was previously required.

  This has been good news for the industry, which had been pressing for such changes for decades with little success. But the weaker regulations also make it potentially easier for arms smugglers and human rights abusers to get their hands on U.S. arms. For example, 36 U.S. allies -- from Argentina and Bulgaria to Romania and Turkey -- will no longer need licenses from the State Department to import weapons and weapons parts from the United States.  This will make it far easier for smuggling networks to set up front companies in such countries and get U.S. arms and arms components that they can then pass on to third parties like Iran or China.  Already a common practice, it will only increase under the new regulations.

   The degree to which the Obama administration has been willing to bend over backward to help weapons exporters was underscored at a 2013 hearing on those administration export “reforms.”  Tom Kelly, then the deputy assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, caught the spirit of the era when asked whether the administration was doing enough to promote American arms exports.  He responded [24]:

  “[We are] advocating on behalf of our companies and doing everything we can to make sure that these sales go through... and that is something we are doing every day, basically [on] every continent in the world... and we’re constantly thinking of how we can do better.”

   One place where, with a helping hand from the Obama administration and the Pentagon, the arms industry has been doing a lot better of late is the Middle East.  Washington has brokered deals for more than $50 billion [22] in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone for everything from F-15 fighter aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to combat ships and missile defense systems.

   The most damaging deals, if not the most lucrative, have been the sales of bombs and missiles to the Saudis for their brutal war in Yemen [25], where thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people are going hungry.  Members of Congress like Michigan Representative John Conyers and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy have pressed for legislation [26] that would at least stem the flow of the most deadly of the weaponry being sent for use there, but they have yet to overcome the considerable clout of the Saudis in Washington (and, of course, that of the arms industry as well).

  When it comes to the arms business, however, there’s no end to the good news from the Middle East.  Take the administration’s proposed new 10-year aid deal [27] with Israel.  If enacted as currently planned, it would boost U.S. military assistance to that country by up to 25% -- to roughly $4 billion per year. At the same time, it would phase out a provision that had allowed Israel to spend one-quarter of Washington’s aid developing its own defense industry.  In other words, all that money, the full $4 billion in taxpayer dollars, will now flow directly into the coffers of companies like Lockheed Martin, which is in the midst of completing amulti-billion-dollar deal [28] to sell the Israelis F-35s.

“Volatility” in Asia and Europe

  As Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson noted, however, the Middle East is hardly the only growth area for that firm or others like it.  The dispute between China and its neighbors over the control of the South China Sea (which is in many ways an incipient conflict over whether that country or the United States will control that part of the Pacific Ocean) has opened up new vistas when it comes to the sale of American warships and other military equipment to Washington’s East Asian allies.  The recent Hague court decision [29] rejecting Chinese claims to those waters (and the Chinese rejection [30] of it) is only likely to increase the pace of arms buying in the region.

   At the same time, in the good-news-never-ends department, growing fears of North Korea’s nuclear program have stoked a demand for U.S.-supplied missile defense systems.  The South Koreans have, in fact, just agreed to deploy Lockheed Martin’s THAAD anti-missile system.  In addition, the Obama administration’s decision to end the longstanding embargo [31] on U.S. arms sales to Vietnam is likely to open yet another significant market for U.S. firms. In the past two years alone, the U.S. has offered more than $15 billion [18] worth of weaponry to allies in East Asia, with Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea accounting for the bulk of the sales.

    In addition, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to build a defense relationship with India, a development guaranteed to benefit U.S. arms exporters.  Last year, Washington and New Delhi signed a 10-year defense agreement [32] that included pledges of future joint work on aircraft engines and aircraft carrier designs.  In these years, the U.S. has made significant inroads into the Indian arms market, which had traditionally been dominated by the Soviet Union and then Russia.  Recent deals include a $5.8 billion sale of Boeing C-17 transport aircraft and a $1.4 billion agreement to provide support services related to a planned purchase of Apache attack helicopters.

   And don’t forget “volatile” Europe.  Great Britain’s recent Brexit vote introduced an uncertainty factor into American arms exports to that country. The United Kingdom has been by far the biggest purchaser [33] of U.S. weapons in Europe of late, with more than $6 billion in deals struck over the past two years alone -- more, that is, than the U.S. has sold to all other European countries combined.

   The British defense behemoth BAE is Lockheed Martin’s principal foreign partner [34] on the F-35 combat aircraft, which at a projected cost of $1.4 trillion over its lifetime already qualifies as the most expensive weapons program in history.  If Brexit-driven austerity were to lead to a delay in, or the cancellation of, the F-35 deal (or any other major weapons shipments), it would be a blow to American arms makers.  But count on one thing: were there to be even a hint that this might happen to the F-35, lobbyists for BAE will mobilize to get the deal privileged status, whatever other budget cuts may be in the works.

   On the bright side (if you happen to be a weapons maker), any British reductions will certainly be more than offset by opportunities in Eastern and Central Europe, where a new Cold War [35] seems to be gaining traction.  Between 2014 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military spending increased by 13% [36] in the region in response to the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The rise in Poland’s outlays, at 22%, was particularly steep.

   Under the circumstances, it should be obvious that trends in the global arms trade are a major news story and should be dealt with as such in the country most responsible for putting more weapons of a more powerful nature into the hands of those living in “volatile” regions.  It’s a monster business (in every sense of the word) and certainly has far more dangerous consequences than licensing a Hollywood blockbuster or selling another Boeing airliner.

   Historically, there have been rare occasions of public protest against unbridled arms trafficking, as with the backlash against “the merchants of death” after World War I, or the controversy over who armed Saddam Hussein that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.  Even now, small numbers of congressional representatives, including John Conyers, Chris Murphy, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, continue to try to halt the sale of cluster munitions, bombs, and missiles to Saudi Arabia.

   There is, however, unlikely to be a genuine public debate about the value of the arms business and Washington’s place in it if it isn’t even considered a subject worthy of more than an occasional media story.  In the meantime, the United States continues to hold onto the number one role in the global arms trade, the White House does its part, the Pentagon greases the wheels, and the dollars roll in to profit-hungry U.S. weapons contractors.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch [37] regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex [38]. Copyright 2016 William D. Hartung. Reprinted with permission. May not be reprinted without permission from TomDispatch.  Portside thanks TomDispatch for send this article to us.


Links:

[1] http://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R44320.pdf
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/world/middleeast/us-foreign-arms-deals-increased-nearly-10-billion-in-2014.html?_r=0
[3] http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/08/458959437/human-rights-groups-criticize-u-s-arms-sale-to-saudi-arabia
[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/20/opinion/obama-saudi-arabia-trade-cluster-bombs.html
[5] http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/10/09/us-ends-failed-syrian-training-program-starts-arming-rebels-directly
[6] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/middleeast/cia-arms-for-syrian-rebels-supplied-black-market-officials-say.html
[7] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/02/04/pentagons-top-weapons-tester-airs-major-list-of-grievances-against-f-35-program/
[8] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/politics/iran-deal-will-top-agenda-when-saudi-king-visits-white-house.html
[9] http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-global-box-office-20151231-story.html
[10] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-12/u-s-corn-supply-estimate-raised-less-than-forecast-on-exports
[11] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/boeing-near-agreement-to-sell-airliners-to-iran/2016/06/14/9d4afb70-325a-11e6-95c0-2a6873031302_story.html
[12] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airshow-britain-usa-arms-idUSKCN0ZT0ZH
[13] http://armscontrolcenter.org/fy-2016-defense-budget-request-briefing-book/
[14] https://theintercept.com/2015/03/20/asked-iran-deal-potentially-slowing-military-sales-lockheed-martin-ceo-says-volatility-brings-growth/
[15] http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/14/obama-arms-fair-camp-david-weapons-sales-gcc/
[16] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-aero-arms-summit-boeing-idUSTRE7867Q720110907
[17] http://www.dsca.mil/2014-foreign-customer-guide/security-cooperation-overview
[18] http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales
[19] http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/02/11/ohio-wins-again-in-armys-budget-for-more-m1-abrams-tanks.html
[20] http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/71875/saudi-arabia-to-rebuild,-upgrade-m1a2-tank-fleet-for-$2.9-bn.html
[21] http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/2016/01/22/senators-begin-push-jet-sales-kuwait-qatar/79109014/
[22] http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/files/historical_facts_book_30_september_2014_web.pdf
[23] https://www.propublica.org/article/in-big-win-for-defense-industry-obama-rolls-back-limits-on-arms-export
[24] http://www.ciponline.org/research/entry/risk-and-returns-the-economic-illogic-of-the-obama-administrations-arms-exp
[25] http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/29/472296092/the-deadly-consequences-to-children-of-yemens-war
[26] http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2016/04/12/bill-would-limit-us-bomb-sales-saudi-arabia/82942344/
[27] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel-defence-exclusive-idUSKCN0XU1UQ
[28] http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2016/june/lockheed-martin-and-israel-celebrate-rollout-of-israels-first-f-35-adir.html
[29] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/world/asia/south-china-sea-hague-ruling-philippines.html
[30] http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/07/13/485753054/will-hague-tribunals-south-china-sea-ruling-inflame-u-s-china-tensions
[31] http://www.npr.org/2016/05/24/479274241/u-s-defense-contractors-may-be-slow-to-profit-from-lifting-of-arms-embargo-again
[32] http://theconversation.com/whats-behind-the-new-us-india-defense-pact-42944
[33] http://www.dsca.mil/search/node/United%20Kingdom
[34] http://www.lockheedmartin.com/uk/10000-Ways/Supporting-Our-Supply-Chain/BAE-Systems.html
[35] http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/13/europe/russia-medvedev-new-cold-war/
[36] https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/EMBARGO%20FS1604%20Milex%202015.pdf
[37] http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176144/tomgram%3A_william_hartung,_how_to_disappear_money,_pentagon-style/
[38] https://www.amazon.com/Prophets-War-Lockheed-Military-Industrial-Complex/dp/1568586973?ie=UTF8&ref_=nosim&tag=tomdispatch-20

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists

As wildfire rages in California, flooding affects millions in India and China, and eggs are fried on sidewalks in Iraq, scientists say global climate catastrophe is surpassing predictions



Record global heat in the first half of 2016 has caught climate scientists off-guard, reports Thompson Reuters Foundation.

   "What concerns me most is that we didn't anticipate these temperature jumps," David Carlson, director of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) climate research program, told Thompson Reuters Foundation late Monday. "We predicted moderate warmth for 2016, but nothing like the temperature rises we've seen."

   "Massive temperature hikes, but also extreme events like floodings, have become the new normal," Carlson added. "The ice melt rates recorded in the first half of 2016, for example—we don't usually see those until later in the year."

   Indeed, extreme weather events are currently wreaking havoc around the world.

  In Southern California, firefighters are battling one of the "most extreme" fires the region has ever seen. The so-called sand fire had consumed 38,346 acres as of Wednesday morning and forced the evacuations of 10,000 homes, and one person has died.

  Meteorologist Eric Holthaus reported on the unusual fire last Friday in Pacific Standard:
The fire, which started as a small brush fire along the side of Highway 14 near Santa Clarita, California, on Friday, quickly spread out of control under weather conditions that were nearly ideal for explosive growth. The fire doubled in size overnight on Friday, and then doubled again during the day on Saturday.

   "The fire behavior was some of the most extreme I've seen in the Los Angeles area in my career," says Stuart Palley, a wildfire photographer based in Southern California. "The fire was running all over the place. … It was incredible to see." There were multiple reports of flames 50 to 100 feet high on Saturday, which is unusual for fires in the region.

   Time-lapse footage filmed on July 23 showed the fire's tall flames and rapid growth:
"Since late 2011," Holthaus explained, "Los Angeles County has missed out on about three years' worth of rain. Simply put: Extreme weather and climate conditions have helped produce this fire's extreme behavior."

   The fire is an omen of things to come, according to Holthaus: "Even if rainfall amounts don't change in the future, drought and wildfire severity likely will because warmer temperatures are more efficient at evaporating what little moisture does fall. That, according to scientists, means California's risk of a mega-drought — spanning decades or more — is, or will be soon, the highest it's been in millennia."
As University of California professor Anthony LeRoy Westerling wrote Tuesday in the Guardian: "A changing climate is transforming our landscape, and fire is one of the tools it uses. Expect to see more of it, in more places, as temperatures rise."

   Meanwhile, in India's northeast, Reuters reported Tuesday that over 1.2 million people "have been hit by floods which have submerged hundreds of villages, inundated large swathes of farmland and damaged roads, bridges and telecommunications services, local authorities said on Tuesday."
Reuters added that nearly 90,000 people are currently being housed in 220 relief camps.
"Incessant monsoon rains in the tea and oil-rich state of Assam have forced the burgeoning Brahmaputra river and its tributaries to burst their banks—affecting more than half of the region's 32 districts," the wire service reported.

   Local officials also told the media that "more than 60 percent of region's famed Kaziranga National Park, home to two-thirds of the world's endangered one-horned rhinoceroses, is also under water, leaving the animals more vulnerable to poaching."

   An unusually heavy monsoon season has also devastated communities in northern China, AFP reported Monday, with nearly 300 dead or missing and hundreds of thousands displaced after catastrophic flooding hit the region.

   And in Iraq, temperatures last week reached such unprecedented heights that a chef literally fried an egg on the sidewalk. The TODAY show tweeted footage of the incident:
It’s hot enough to fry eggs on the street in Iraq where temperatures topped 120 degreeshttps://t.co/SLUnY4Pq1m

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 21, 2016

   Stateside, the heat dome continues to inflict scorching summer temperatures across the country. In one Arizona locale, for example, meteorologists are predicting a scorching high temperature on Wednesday of 114° Fahrenheit. One Arizona resident posted a video Tuesday desperately asking people to pray for the state as it faces more hot weather. "It is still six billion degrees," the resident lamented. "Lord, we need you."

   Yet there appears to be little relief in sight: for the first time ever, USA Today reported Tuesday, the U.S. federal government's climate prediction center is forecasting hotter-than-normal temperatures for the next three months for "every square inch" of the country.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Baltimore Activist Alert July 31 – August 14, 2016

Baltimore Activist Alert July 31 – August 14, 2016

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours.
The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to www.baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com.  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.

1] Books, buttons and stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists  
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] Two friends are looking to buy a house in Baltimore
6] Affordable Housing Trust Fund on ballot – deadline Aug. 8
7] Tour of The Real News Network – July 31
8] Splashdance – July 31
9] Seniors Benefits Workshop – July 31
10] Register for Pax Christi National Gathering – deadline Aug. 1
11] Register for a Peace Camp – Aug. 1 - 5
12] Pentagon Vigil – Aug. 1
13] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Aug. 1– Aug. 5
14] “There is a Solution,” – Aug. 2
15] Philadelphia Peace Vigil – Aug. 2
16] Protest JHU drone research – Aug. 2
17] See the film “24 Hours After Hiroshima” – Aug. 2
18] Book talk “African Americans Against the Bomb – Aug. 2
19] Hiroshima commemoration – Aug. 7
20] Nagasaki Commemoration – Aug. 9
-------
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq.

To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon.net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe.  It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing.  To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to ncnrnotices-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You will get a confirmation message once subscribed.  If you have problems, please write to the list manager at ncnrnotices-admin@lists.riseup.net.

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA CafĂ© Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale.  For more details and to download the order form, go to http://friendsoflatinamerica.typepad.com/hocofola/2010/02/hocofola-cafe-quetzal-order-form-2010.html. The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month.  Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered.  Send it to Francine Sheppard at 5639B, Harpers Farm Rd., Columbia 21044. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Francine at 410-992-7679 or FrancineMSW@aol.com.

5] – Janice and Max are looking to buy a house in Baltimore.  Let Max know if you have any leads—410-323-1607 or mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

6] – Betsy Krieger wrote to say that there is an affordable housing crisis in Baltimore City- with vacant properties and unaffordable rents.  The good news is there is a solution that has been used successfully in other cities—an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. An Affordable Housing Trust Fund can make Baltimore more livable for everyone.  How can we make this happen? By passing an amendment to the City Charter. 

Consider giving a few hours of your time to collect signatures to put this on the ballot. 10,000 signatures of Baltimore City voters are needed by August 8 to get this on the ballot!  People are happy to sign; they just need to be asked. Go to http://housingforallbaltimore.org/#volunteer. Visit www.housingforallbaltimore.org or contact Rebecca at info@housingforallbaltimore.org.

On any given night, 3000 people, including children and their families, are homeless.  25,000 Baltimore City households, more than half with children, are on the waiting list for desperately needed federal housing assistance, where they will wait as much as ten years.  Volunteers are needed, but you can get paid.  People who are able to work 10-40 hours/week between now and Aug. 8 can be paid $12.50/hr. You must be 18 or over, but no experience required! Please share this opportunity.

7] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. However, on July 31, there will be “The Real News Network Field Trip”
with Jackie Hryncewich, Development Manager, and Paul Jay, the CEO.  The Real News Network (TRNN) is a non-profit, viewer-supported daily video-news and documentary service. Since 2007, TRNN has produced more than 7,000 stories that have been viewed more than 100 million times. While TRNN has international scope, it reports news with ordinary people’s interests in mind. TRNN has an office in Toronto and headquarters in Baltimore, with their main studio and offices near City Hall. TRNN does not accept advertising, nor any government or corporate funding; TRNN is sustained by viewer donations and earned revenue. Learn more at trnn.com. TRNN producer/executive assistant Dharna Noor and news anchor Jaisal Noor are children of BES member Angad Singh.

The tour starts at 11 AM at TRNN headquarters, 231 N. Holliday St. If you would like a ride, please notify Nine Trillion at 443-766-4772 and arrive at BES by 10:30 AM. Carpools will leave at 10:40 AM. You may also meet the tour group at TRNN.
Call 410-581-2322 or email ask@bmorethical.org.

8] – On Sun., July 31 at 11 AM at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, catch SPLASHDANCE - A SOCIAL JUSTICE CHILDREN'S TALE OF INTERSPECIES WATER BALLET. Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition, where the prize is a million dollars! But a new regulation at the community pool--no bears--leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, she encounters a group of undaunted animal swimmers at a local pond, and Ursula and her new team figure out a way to participate in the competition and make sure everyone is welcome at the pool once and for all. Filled with deadpan humor, adorable animals, and big themes about social justice and inclusion, Splashdance is a fun and splashy summer story with a lot of heart. Call 443-602-7585.  Go to http://www.redemmas.org.   

9] – Congressperson John Sarbanes, Maryland's Third Congressional District,  is holding a Seniors Benefits Workshop on Sun., July 31 from 2 to 4:30 PM at the Marilyn Praisener Library, 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD 20866.  It will provide seniors with information about Social Security and Medicare. It will also offer seniors the opportunity to meet one-on-one with caseworkers to discuss individual benefit issues. Call 410-832-8890.

10] – It’s the last week to register for the Pax Christi USA National Gathering to be held Aug. 12 to 14 at the Double Tree Hotel!  The regular room rate is definitely affordable. The registration is priced at $275, however, the registration rate for those 35 years or younger is still the same: $180.  But you must register by the absolute deadline: August 1.

Download the mail-in registration form by getting on the Pax Christi USA’s website: www.paxchristiusa.org. There’s a space to fill out your credit card information if you’re paying that way, mail it in, and then reserve your room by contacting the hotel directly. Keep in mind that meals are included in your registration. All the information, including keynote speakers and break out session presenters, and a schedule of events can be found on the Pax Christi USA website.  Contact Chuck at 443-846-5207.

11] – Register Your Child for the Little Friends for Peace Peace Camp at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockville from Mon., Aug. 1 through Fri., Aug. 5.  Parents should enroll their children for one week of learning conflict resolution, self-confidence and collaborative play. Call (240) 838-4549 or email mjpeace@gmail.com.

12] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is Mon., Aug. 1, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email artlaffin@hotmail.com or call 202-882-9649.  The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro.  By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr.,  and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM.  No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr. 

13] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday fr6m 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at www.weaa.org.   The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to steinershow@gmail.com. All shows are also available as podcasts at www.steinershow.org.

14] – On Mon., Aug. 1 at 6 PM, hear “There is a Solution,” with Rev.  L. Livingston, Rev. Donald Morton, Police Chief R. Cummings, and Rev R. Livingston at First and Central Presbyterian Church, 1101 N Market St. Wilmington, DE. Through group discussions, develop recommendations to present to the Police /Community Advisory Board.  Go to https://endnewjimcrowde.org/.

15] – Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine.  The next vigil is Aug. 2.  Call 215-426-0364.

16] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. join this ongoing vigil on Aug. 2  from 5:30 to 6:30  PM. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

17] –  On  Tues., Aug. 2 at 7 PM, as part of the Pacem Summer Film Series, see “24 Hours After Hiroshima” in the Meeting Room adjacent to Rodney Chapel at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W. 13th St., Wilmington, DE.  Call 302-656-2721.

18] --- On Tues., Aug. 2 from 7 to 9 PM, Vincent Intondi, Montgomery College, will do a book presentation on “African Americans Against the Bomb,” at Potters House, 1658 Columbia Road NW, WDC. Well before Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against nuclear weapons, African Americans were protesting the Bomb. Historians have generally ignored African Americans when studying the anti-nuclear movement, yet they were some of the first citizens to protest Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The book tells the compelling story of those black activists who fought for nuclear disarmament by connecting the nuclear issue with the fight for racial equality. RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/486264368249270/.

19] – The 32nd annual HIROSHIMA COMMEMORATION will begin on Sun., Aug. 7 at 5:30 PM at 33rd & N. Charles Sts. Demonstrate against Johns Hopkins University’s weapons contracts, including research on killer drones, commemorate the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and remember Fukushima, Japan.  At 6:30 PM, march to the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  Joseph Byrne, from Baltimore’s Jonah House, will perform some dulcimer music.  David Eberhardt, a member of the Baltimore Four, will read some poetry.

  Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, a Hiroshima Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivor), will relate his experience from August 6, 1945 and call on the nations of the world to abolish nuclear weapons so that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is never repeated. The Hibakusha’s greatest fear is that when they are gone, the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will disappear and nuclear weapons will be used again, this time threatening life itself. Their prophetic voices remind us of the need to speak out against oppression and injustice, and to work for nuclear disarmament.  Mimaki is vice president of Hiroshima Prefectural Hibakusha Organization and a former executive board member of Nihon Hidankyo (The Japan Confederation of A & H Bomb Sufferers Organizations). 

At 8 PM we will enjoy dinner at the Niwana Restaurant, 3 E. 33rd Street.  All are welcome to come for food, drink and conversation. Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net.

20] – The 32nd annual NAGASAKI COMMEMORATION will begin at 5:30 PM with a potluck dinner on Tues., Aug. 9 , 2016 at Homewood Friends Meeting, 3107 N. Charles St.  At 7 PM, the program will begin.  David Eberhardt will again read some poetry.  Then Firmin DeBrabander, a professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art and author of "Do Guns Make Us Free?" (Yale University Press, 2015), will discuss The Madness of Gun Violence in the USA. Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.

Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/. "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs