Sunday, November 18, 2018

Baltimore Activist Alert -- November 18 & 20, 2018



"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 mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net.

1] Books, buttons and stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Get involved with NCNR   
4] Buy an Anti-War Veteran hat  
5] Transcribe Dorothy Day’s diaries
6] Redlining – through Dec. 31
7] Volunteer at the Real Food Farms– Nov. 18
8] “Hope, Faith, and Persistence” -- Nov. 18
9] Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America meeting Nov. 18
10] ERA discussion – Nov. 18
11] Black Lives Matter demo – Nov. 18
12] Refugees' First Thanksgiving Dinner – Nov. 18
13] See film "Naila and the Uprising" – Nov. 18
14] Protest at the Pentagon Nov. 19
15] Kings Bay Plowshares hearing – Nov. 19
16] Challenging ICE -- Nov. 19
17] Achieving Peace in Afghanistan – Nov. 19
18] Food Rescue Baltimore -- Nov. 19
19] Force vs. First Amendment – Nov. 19
20] We the People Tour – Nov. 19
21] Get the Money Out – Nov. 19
22] Universal Children’s Day – Nov. 20
23] World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 – through Nov. 25
24] Transgender Memorial Day – Nov. 20
25] Peace Vigil – Nov. 20
26] No Drone Research DEMO – Nov. 20
27] Experiences of Racism in the Church – Nov. 20
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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 U.S. wars.

To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

4] – Get a good-looking black hat which says Anti-War Veteran in the front and Viva House 50th in the back.  The cost is $10. Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

5] – Want an opportunity to work with scans of Dorothy Day's diaries? The Guild for the Canonization is looking for volunteers to help them transcribe all her diaries and letters! Several Catholic Workers are already helping and you can, too!  Contact Jeff Korgen at jkorgen@korgan.associates.org or call him 862-485-5807.

6] – At 10 AM through December 31, check out Undesign the Redline exhibit, hosted by Choose Civility, HCLS Central Branch. Look for tickets at choosecivility.org.  This interactive exhibit explores the history of structural racism and classism, how these designs compounded each other from redlining maps until today, and how we can come together to undesign these systems with intentionality.  Tours, reading lists, events, and more details are at http://choosecivility.org/events/undesign-the-redline-exhibit. See https://www.facebook.com/events/444200232763081/.

7] – On Sun., Nov. 18 at 10 AM to noon, Volunteer at the Real Food Farms, hosted by Chevrei Tzedek at 1950 Perlman Place. Real Food Farm works toward a just and sustainable food system by improving neighborhood access to healthy food, providing experience-based education, and developing an economically viable, environmentally responsible local agriculture sector. Each month, spend a couple hours volunteering on their farm to contribute to greater food justice in the city of Baltimore.  Get to https://www.facebook.com/events/176701283179747/.

8] –  Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 2521 St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion at 10:30 AM.  On Sun., Nov. 18, the platform address is “Hope, Faith, and Persistence.”  To change the world some think you need faith and hope but also persistence. You can lose faith and hope. But one has to persist.  Michael S. Franch is an Ethical Culture Leader and an active member of the National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union. He served as Leader of the Baltimore Ethical Society from 1975-1984 and is currently an affiliate minister at the First Unitarian Church, Baltimore. A historian by training he spent most of his career, and until his 2007 retirement, working in health policy at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Call 410-581-2322 or email ask@bmorethical.org.

9] – On Sun., Nov. 18 from 1:45 to 4 PM, come to the meeting of the Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America at 2239 Kirk Ave., Baltimore 21218-6204. Find out more about organizing and where your place is in the movement! All are welcome.  There will be new member orientation from 1:45 PM to 2 PM. The meeting will start at 2 PM. See https://www.facebook.com/events/692904261105986/.

10] – On Sun., Nov. 11 at 4 PM, join The CALL - ERA Education Program, hosted by One Rural Woman at Katrina's Dream, PO Box 32003, WDC 20007.  Get tickets at www.katrinasdream.org.  Help build the groundswell. The collaboration of grassroots organizers, lobbyists, and professionals is dedicated to promoting and educating folks across the United States of America to empowering women around the world.  PASS THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT.

There is a NATIONAL WEEKLY SUNDAY CALL at 4 PM with E.R.A. ADVOCATES -- CALL IN NO: 563.999.2090 CONFERENCE NO: 898879#.  Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1710130249022424/.

11] – On Sun., Nov. 11 from 4 to 5 PM, attend a Black Lives Matter monthly vigil at Governor Warfield Parkway and Windstream Drive in Howard County. The vigil will continue until Dec. 9. Join in on the second Sunday of each month for a public witness to remind the community that all lives will matter when black lives matter. Show up to tell the world that injustice will not be ignored in Howard County or anywhere else. Check out https://www.facebook.com/events/408704056256085/.

12] – On Sun., Nov. 18 from 4 to 8 PM, enjoy the ECDC Refugees' First Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted by the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc., 903 South Highland St., Arlington, VA 22204.  Please bring a dish to share.  At a time when the number of refugee admissions is the lowest since the beginning of resettlement program, the ECDC/African Community Center D.C. Metro needs your support to continue serving refugees and immigrants. To volunteer or donate food and supplies, call (703) 685-0510 Ext. 222 or email ECDC_Thanksgiving@ecdcus.org.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/176701283179747/. RSVP at nkubwayo@ecdcus.org. Check out https://www.facebook.com/events/276027373024826/.

13] – See "Naila and the Uprising"  on Sun., Nov. 18 at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, in the basement next to the side entrance. Doors open at 6 PM.  Film starts promptly at 6:30 PM.  The film is followed by a discussion with one of the filmmakers from Just Vision and a musical performance by Danielle. Also homemade Arabic food will be available before and after the film.  See the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zotlaEEnSZw.  This is a true story about the role of women, and one woman in particular, who leads her people under very difficult circumstances with strength and moral courage. Palestine is most often represented in the media by the men who have led the resistance to Israel's occupation, leaving many of us to believe that the women remain passively at home tending to their families. However, when Israeli authorities imprison many of the Palestinian men hoping to starve the resistance of leaders, the Palestinian women have been instrumental in shouldering the responsibilities of both home life and political resistance. Following the recent U.S. midterm elections where a record number of women were elected to Congress, we have further evidence that the time has come for women to lead the world into a brighter future. Naila is such a leader in Palestine. See https://www.facebook.com/events/341360436423558/.

14] – 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 Nov. 19, 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.

15] – The continuation of an evidentiary hearing in the Kings Bay Plowshares Nuclear Disarmament Case has been scheduled for Mon., Nov. 19 at 9 AM in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia in Brunswick, GA, before the Honorable Benjamin W. Cheesbro, Magistrate. Contact Bill Quigley, attorney, at (504) 710-3074 or quigley77@gmail.com.

16] – On Mon., Nov. 19 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM, get involved with Clergy Action for Sanctuary Families' Freedom, hosted by the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. Be at the Philadelphia ICE Office, 114 N. 8th St. Clergy call on ICE to remember all families deserve to be together. ICE separates immigrant families every day in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia ICE office has the highest arrests in the country, but on Monday, clergy will gather to pray and call on ICE to remember the Thompson and Reyes families in Sanctuary and grant them a two year stay of removal. Living in Sanctuary since September, they struggle each day to stay with their family. Clergy will pray and bring a token of the families to ICE District Director Simona Flores.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/2091739820846316/.

17] –  On Mon., Nov. 19 from 11 AM to 1 PM, deal with Questions From Centcom on Achieving Peace in Afghanistan, hosted by United States Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW, WDC 20037.  Tickets are www.usip.org.  The effort to end the war in Afghanistan with a political settlement has moved to the forefront of the policy conversation, with all elements of the U.S. government, including the military, increasingly playing a role. As the top American commander in Afghanistan commented this week, “this is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution.”  In support of this effort, USIP is partnering with CENTCOM—the U.S. military command responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East—for a panel on the status of the Afghan peace process and the U.S. military’s potential role. Through the Department of Defense’s Strategic Multilayer Assessment program, CENTCOM has generated five key questions—touching on U.S. strategy toward the peace process, the relationship between top-down and bottom-up peace efforts, and the role of Afghanistan’s neighbors—for a panel of experts with deep experience in this peace effort. Visit https://www.usip.org/events/questions-centcom-achieving-peace-afghanistan or https://www.facebook.com/events/167569654197560/.

18] – On Mon., Nov.19, and every Monday until Feb. 4, 2019, at noon, there will be a Food Rescue at Land of Kush, 840 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore 21201. Food Rescue Baltimore is honored to partner with The Land of Kush each and every Monday to bring access to free vegan/plant-based food in the community. Bring a bag. Take what you want from noon to 1PM or while supplies last. No purchase is necessary to take advantage of the Food Rescue Baltimore give away. Items from The Land of Kush's menu are not included in the give-away but will be available for sale. See https://www.facebook.com/events/415842178868197/.

19] –  On Mon., Nov. 19 from 6 to 9 PM, Profs & Pints will host Force vs. First Amendment at the Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft, 1523 22nd St. NW, WDC 20037.  Tickets are at profsandpintsfirstamendment.brownpapertickets.com.  Mary McCord, visiting professor at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, will lead the discussion.  In recent years far-right extremist groups have taken to the streets to advocate for white nationalism. Far more than free speech has occurred at their marches and rallies in places like Berkeley, Calif.; Portland, Ore., and Charlottesville, Va. Espousing a “provoke and invoke” strategy, the groups have used their intimidating words and armed, organized displays of force to provoke counter-protesters into striking the first blow. They’ve then responded violently, invoking self-defense.  Self-professed militia groups frequently have provided “security” at these events. Armed with AR-15s, they have taken it upon themselves to determine whether, and when, lethal force may be used. Is this violent activity protected by the First Amendment? Does the Second Amendment protect the open carrying of firearms as part of an unauthorized militia? Is private paramilitary activity allowed under federal or state law?

Professor McCord led a successful lawsuit that pushed Charlottesville, Va., to take a novel approach to dealing with more than 20 individuals and groups that had participated in the Unite the Right rally in August 2017. It barred those returning to the city in groups of two or more from acting in concert while armed with any type of weapon, including shields. The court orders resulting from the lawsuit covered any protest, rally, demonstration, or march. She’ll talk about how nearly every state has constitutional provisions and laws that bar paramilitary activity, and she’ll describe how enforcement of those laws is consistent with the First and Second Amendments.  Advance tickets are $12, while at the door, $15.  Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/457051621370272/.

20] –  On Mon., Nov. 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, get involved with the We The People Tour, hosted by the Caucus of African American Leaders and ACLU of Maryland at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, Inc., 1101 Smithville St., Annapolis 21401. This is an important and exciting time for Marylanders and the ACLU. You have the opportunity to make a real difference on the local level – which is where we need to fight for and build on changes that will ultimately bring greater justice and equity for all. Mark your calendar for the ACLU of Maryland’s Statewide Tour, featuring Dana Vickers Shelley, the new Executive Director! Check out https://www.facebook.com/events/173873030201696/.

21] – Join the Get Money Out of Maryland Teleconference on Monday, Nov. 12 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.  Call 605-475-6711, code 1136243#.  Work only on brainstorming ideas for participation in the upcoming General Election.

22] – On Tues., Nov. 20 at 9 AM, come to Universal Children’s Day and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  This is a day of prayer and action for children celebrated at interfaith prayer service in chapel of Salvation Army, 401 N. Shipley Street St., Wilmington, DE. As part of this, Kiwanis Club of Wilmington is purchasing coats from Operation Warm to distribute to Wilmington children. Email applebart@comcast.net.

23] – On Tues., Nov. 20 at 10 AM through Nov. 25, see the World Press Photo Exhibition 2018, hosted by Lightscape Foundation at the Dupont Underground, 19 Dupont Circle NW, WDC 20036.  The Exhibition is on a world-wide tour showcasing the stories that matter. A specially tailored exhibition has been created for Washington, D.C. including with a retrospective of the Photos of the Year since 1955, photographs of four African Photojournalism Database photographers, and Images honoring the work of Agence France-Presse photographer Shah Marai.  Call 202 337 3686. The visiting hours are until 6 PM, while the doors will close at 7 PM.  It is closed on Mondays and Thanksgiving (Nov. 22).  There is a discounted admission of $12, while general admission is $18.  Children under 14 enter free (however should be accompanied by an adult, given the nature of the some images).  Audio guides with information from the photographers will be available at no charge (first-come first served).  Visitors are free to come back multiple times by leaving their names with the volunteers at the entrance. See http://www.lightscapedc.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/1668929476569252/.

24] – On Tues, Nov. 20 at noon, be at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial, hosted by Goucher College Center for Race, Equity and Identity at the Haebler Memorial Chapel, 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd., Towson 21204. Transgender Day of Remembrance (and Resilience), which occurs annually on November 20, is a day to memorialize those who have lost their lives as a result of transphobia, to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community, and to give allies a chance to step forward and stand in solidarity with the transgender and gender non-binary community.  Please visit the Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial to pay your respect and learn more about the 29 people who have lost their lives to transgender violence in 2018. See https://www.facebook.com/events/317177892441804/?event_time_id=317177905775136.

25] –  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 Nov. 20.  Call 215-426-0364.

26] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Nov. 20 from 5 to 6 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607. 

27] –  On Tues., Nov. 20 from 6:30 to 9 PM, get over to the Lecture Series on Experiences of Racism in the Church, hosted by St. Matthew Catholic Church, 5401 Loch Raven Blvd., Baltimore 21239.  Come out and listen to Ray C. Kelly, an urban community organizer, advocate, and activist. The evening begins with a pot luck dinner at 6:30 PM and the talk will start promptly at 7 PM. See https://stmatthewbaltimore.org/event/experiences-of-racism-in-the-church-2/.  Contact Denise Blackwell at blackwelldenise@msn.com.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.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


Friday, November 16, 2018

BALTIMORE LABOR CHORUS will perform a free concert/New Study Details 'Staggering' $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War


  The BALTIMORE LABOR CHORUS will perform a free concert on Sat., Nov. 17 at 7 PM at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201. Call (410) 685-1130.Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Study Details 'Staggering' $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War
"The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card."



https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/airstrikes-spike-casualties-afghan_0.jpg?itok=5ZY1Ogs8
While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

  The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans' care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments.
https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1415963035/cowicon2_normal.jpg


Our new estimate of how much the “war on terror” has cost since 9/11 is being released today in an event hosted by Senator Reed on Capitol Hill. The grand total: a staggering $5.9 trillion. Read the full report: https://buff.ly/2PS86wP 

  The figure far exceeds the Pentagon's estimate of $1.5 trillion in total spending since September 11—a number that does not even account for combined State Department spending and the Pentagon's war fund, which totals $1.8 trillion according to the Watson Institute.

  "We were told to expect wars that would be quick, cheap, effective and beneficial to the U.S. interest," said Neta Crawford, the author of the study, at a news conference hosted by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on Tuesday. "The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card, in which we are only paying interest even as we continue to spend." 

   Veterans' healthcare, benefits, and disability spending alone has cost the U.S. $1 trillion, as nearly three million Americans have deployed to countries including Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, many for numerous tours.

   With spending continuing at its current level, the study reads, Americans can expect their government to spend more than $6.7 trillion on war by the end of 2023—not including future interest costs.

    "Moreover, the costs of war will likely be greater than this because, unless the U.S. immediately ends its deployments, the number of veterans associated with the post-9/11 wars will also grow," Crawford wrote in the report.

    The Watson Institute's latest report comes days after another study detailing the estimated death toll of the so-called "War on Terror." The Defense Department reported on about 500 civilian deaths in 2017 in various U.S. wars earlier this year and its website reports several thousands deaths of U.S. soldiers since 2001—numbers the Watson Institute also found to be severely underestimated as it reported about half a million deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the U.S. invasions and prolonged occupations of those countries.

    "It's important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs," Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said in a statement.

    "In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable," reads the Watson Institute's report. "The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.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



Trump Moves the World One Step Closer to Nuclear Catastrophe



Trump Moves the World One Step Closer to Nuclear Catastrophe
President Donald Trump speaks during an election rally in Murphysboro, Illinois, on October 27, 2018.

President Donald Trump speaks during an election rally in Murphysboro, Illinois, on October 27, 2018.NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / GETTY IMAGES


November 4, 2018
  In October, President Trump announced he plans to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, carving out a path to a 21st century US-Russian Cold War. The move demonstrates once again that ignorance compounded with the need for domination makes for an extremely dangerous nuclear cocktail of renewed arms racing that endangers human survival.
While the Russian military may indeed be in technical violation of the Treaty by testing a new medium-range cruise missile, less well known is the fact that a joint commission is currently exploring whether the US has also violated the Treaty with its own deployment of a missile defense system in Romania. Of course, the answer to Russia’s cruise-missile testing should not have been to rip up the famous treaty that ended the Cold War. Rather, it should have prompted intensifying nuclear disarmament diplomacy.
Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev had it right when he remarked that Trump’s announcement was not the work “of a great mind.” As Gorbachev wrote in The New York Times, “With enough political will, any problems of compliance with the existing treaties could be resolved” and, “There will be no winner in a ‘war of all against all’ – particularly if it ends in a nuclear war.” One need not love Russian President Vladimir Putin to acknowledge the importance of Russia’s Foreign Ministry saying, “There is still room for dialogue.”
The INF Treaty came into force in 1987, bringing the Cold War to an end even before the Berlin Wall was breached and the Soviet empire collapsed. The Treaty requires elimination and permanent renunciation of future deployment of all US and Russian nuclear and conventional ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of 300 to 3,500 miles. It greatly reduced (but did not eliminate) the danger of Europe becoming the initial theater and victim of a US-Soviet (now Russian) apocalyptic nuclear war.
Abandoning the Treaty — combined with the possible expiration of the New START Treaty if it is not soon extended — will eliminate all nuclear arms agreements between the world’s two largest and most dangerous nuclear powers, paving the way for an unrestrained and mind-bogglingly costly nuclear arms race.
The danger posed by nuclear weapons and the arms race are not abstractions. Both great powers already use their nuclear arsenals dangerously to reinforce or expand their imperial spheres of influence. For example, the US threatened possible nuclear attacks on the eves of the 1991 and 2003 Iraq wars, with former President Obama’s “all options on the table” threats against Iran and President Trump’s “fire and fury” threat against North Korea. Further, Putin stated that he considered the use of nuclear weapons to ensure Russian control of Crimea. Trump’s nuclear arms racing only adds to the dangers of nuclear war as a result of miscalculations and accidents.
The decision to abandon the Treaty is part-and-parcel of Trump’s unilateralist “America First” vision of US global dominance. Beyond ostensible concerns about possible Russian cruise-missile testing, Trump and company have complained that the INF Treaty restricts the Pentagon’s ability to offset China’s military modernization. Thus, withdrawal from the Treaty needs to be seen along with the Navy’s provocative South China Sea “freedom of navigation exercises” and the disastrous trade war as another element of Trump’s nationally self-defeating campaign to weaken and contain China – not to mention Trump’s and National Security Adviser John Bolton’s disregard for treaties and international cooperation.
The decision to abandon the Treaty is part-and-parcel of Trump’s unilateralist “America First” vision of US global dominance.
While withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a dangerous escalation on its own terms, it comes in the context of more than two decades of increasingly aggressive US military policies in relation to Russia: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) expansion to Russia’s borders, which was initiated during the Clinton administration; withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by the Bush II-Cheney administration; the Obama administration’s commitment to spend $1.2 trillion (expanded to $1.7 trillion under Trump) to develop a new generation of US nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, deployment of missile defenses which Moscow fears could be converted into nuclear-armed first strike missiles; and the decision to deploy upgraded and “more usable” US nuclear weapons to five European NATO nations.
Committed to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, President Putin reiterated Russia’s commitment to maintain the balance of forces with the United States. Russian nuclear-capable missiles have now been deployed to Kaliningrad in the heart of Central Europe. Further, in order to evade or overwhelm US missile defenses, Russia is deploying a new long-range multiple warhead missile, hypersonic cruise and other missiles capable of flying up to five times the speed of sound, and has pledged to deploy a nuclear-powered “unmanned underwater vehicle” capable of destroying port cities with nuclear weapons.
We risk losing everything if we fail to add nuclear disarmament and peace to our list of progressive, life-affirming and democratic demands as we confront the Trump administration. Our list of demands should include preservation and reinforcement of the INF Treaty, opposition to what has become the $1.7 trillion US nuclear weapons upgrade, support for the Markey-Lieu legislation that would prevent presidential first-use of nuclear weapons, and renewed commitments to fulfilling the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty’s obligation to “good faith” negotiations by the nuclear powers for the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The last thing the world needs is a new Cold War that threatens human survival.


   
Copyright © Truthout.

Dr. Joseph Gerson is president of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security and director of the American Friends Service Committee's Peace and Economic Security Program.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.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



Physicians Work to Bring Back the Anti-Nuclear Movement


Friends,

    If you want to join us in the anti-nuke movement, attend our conference at Goucher College on November 17 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Go Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland. Kagiso, Max


Physicians Work to Bring Back the Anti-Nuclear Movement
Various members of different CND, anti-war and peace campaigners gathered to protest the bases of nuclear capable submarines, September 22, 2018, in Helensburgh, Scotland.
Various members of different CND, anti-war and peace campaigners gathered to protest the bases of nuclear capable submarines, September 22, 2018, in Helensburgh, Scotland.
STEWART KIRBY / SOPA IMAGES / LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES


November 11, 2018

Planet or Profit?
PART OF THE TRUTHOUT SERIES
It is a move that many, including former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, believe has ignited a new nuclear arms race. This is because the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed by Gorbachev and former US President Ronald Reagan, banned all short and mid-range nuclear and non-nuclear missiles, and helped eliminate thousands of land-based missiles.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Trump has already promised to build new nuclear weapons, in addition to having withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, heightening tensions further after having previously threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea. Trump has also promised to build new nuclear weapons.
While these deeply concerning issues, which are clear existential threats to the entire planet, often fly under the radar, a large and diverse coalition of groups across Washington State has formed with the aim of reviving the anti-nuclear movement.
Kitsap Bangor Naval Base is the single largest collection of nuclear weapons in the US, and each of those warheads is many times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Estela Ortega, the executive director of El Centro de la Raza, told Truthout. El Centro de la Raza is a Seattle-based civil rights, human services, educational, cultural and economic development organization.
Ortega explained that the mission of her organization is “to struggle for a clean, safe, and nuclear waste-free environment for our people and future generations. To work for a rational use of natural resources in the interests of the preservation of Mother Earth and the peaceful development of humankind.”
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She added, “Our commitment to a nuclear free world and preserving Mother Earth has been with us since the beginning of our organization.”
Ortega’s organization is now part of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility’s (WPSR) effort to revive anti-nuclear awareness across the state by developing what has become a broad, socially diverse coalition of dozens of partners who share the same goal.
WPSR, which is the Washington State chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), reached out to Ortega and her organization after she gave a speech at Hiroshima to Hope’s annual remembrance event.
“Their mission and goals were similar to ours in that nuclear weapons should be eliminated and those dollars then used to end poverty,” she said. “In addition, the dollars should be used to strengthen our nation by funding education, housing, health care, rebuilding our country, creating jobs and now we need funds to combat climate change for clean air, water, a green economy and healthy forests.”
Lilly Adams is the security program organizer for WPSR, as well as the co-chair of the group’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Task Force. Adams coordinates WPSR’s statewide coalition, Washington Against Nuclear Weapons.
“The primary aim of our work is to reduce our nuclear weapons arsenal and spending on nuclear weapons, and working towards a world without nuclear weapons,” Adams told Truthout. “Every nuclear weapon that is dismantled makes us a little bit safer. These weapons threaten our society simply by existing, because there is always the risk of intentional use, unintentional use or accidents.”
The coalition includes Earthcare Not Warfare, South Seattle Climate Action Network, Spokane Veterans for Peace, Social Equity Educators, the Seattle Education Association, a student group at the University of Washington called Beyond the Bomb, and more.
The aim of WPSR’s statewide coalition is to mobilize leaders and their organization’s members in each congressional district to apply consistent pressure to each member of Congress, with the eventual aim of abolishing nuclear weapons altogether. It is working in tandem with the national PSR organization, which has been advocating for more than half a century to create what its website states is “a healthy, just and peaceful world for both the present and future generations.” PSR is the US affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
Adams aims to reverse the trends that have been laid out in the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.
“This review lays out the administration’s view of the role of nuclear weapons,” she said. “It calls for more usable nuclear weapons, expands the situations in which we might use nuclear weapons, and sidelines disarmament and diplomacy. In the short term, we have to work to oppose these dangerous policies.”
Washington as Ground Zero
Laura Skelton, the executive director of WPSR, told Truthout she knew building a coalition like this would be challenging in Washington. This is because the Boeing company (which builds nuclear missiles), uranium mining, nuclear weapons storage and the Hanford nuclear waste site have all played a significant role in the state’s economy.
Additionally, the US military’s standing presence in the state is highlighted by this statement on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s website: “The Military and Defense sector is Washington’s second largest direct public employer. This key industry cuts across many sectors in Washington, helps create the backbone for a strong economy through our diverse defense missions and military installations, our pioneering companies, and our military friendly communities.”
Governor Inslee, the so-called greenest governor, also convened the Washington Military Alliance to ensure military spending continues to flow into the state.
“It’s also delicate to bring up Boeing’s role in nuclear weapons systems production,” Skelton said. “I doubt most residents are aware of their role in the military economy, and in the nuclear weapons industry in particular.”
Bangor, Washington, is one of the largest depots of nuclear weapons in the US, and coupled with the other aforementioned nuclear-related presences, Washington State is a sort of “ground zero” for anti-nuclear organizing for the nation.
Bruce Amundson, WPSR’s vice president and co-chair of our Nuclear Weapons Abolition Task Force, is a former family physician, and was the catalyst for WPSR’s anti-nuclear weapons coalition.
“Some of the old-guard anti-nuclear leaders back then [during the 1980s] were early responders to our requests to join a statewide coalition and have been some of the most engaged folks,” Amundson told Truthout. “So, like the Trump phenomenon, our Washington history has been a boon to organizing.”
On the other hand, the massive presence of the military in Washington, coupled with the influence of Boeing and the defense industries, have a grip on the state government that, Amundson said, “is hard to break.”
However, according to Amundson, several members of WPSR’s growing coalition are now linked to members of Congress in each district of the state and are making “aggressive asks.” He said the results have been notable.
Since the campaign began two years ago, WPSR has seen members of Congress who were formerly absent on nuclear issues now speaking out or supporting legislative initiatives for the first time. Additionally, Amundson said two-thirds of Washington’s congressional delegation have “moved” along the spectrum to a better position on the issue.
“Our requests have been supported by strong arguments, by the humanitarian perspective of human carnage and by a clear message that something is happening in Washington around nuclear issues and we are not going away,” Amundson said.
Adams pointed out that although Boeing’s presence makes Washington a challenging place to form an anti-nuclear coalition, many people simply don’t realize Boeing is one of the largest nuclear weapons systems producers in the country. If they did, they might not be so excited about its presence.
“Producers of other weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons, are often condemned by the public, but somehow this is still not true for producers of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons systems,” Adams said. “But often people simply don’t know this other side of Boeing. Boeing is a big contributor to the Democratic and Republican parties and individual elected officials in Washington State, and they spend a massive amount of money lobbying Congress.”
According to Adams, all that power and money being invested in the continued production of nuclear weapons by Boeing points to a more general corporate nightmare: Much of the US nuclear weapons production is carried out by private companies. These companies stand to profit from the continued existence and reliance on nuclear weapons, regardless of the negative impacts on communities.
The Kitsap Bangor naval base is home to the largest collection of deployed (or ready-to-use) nuclear weapons in the country, according to Adams.
If Washington were its own country, it would be the third-largest nuclear weapons country in the world.
“This is on Hood Canal, just 20 miles from Seattle,” she said. “In fact, if Washington were its own country, it would be the third-largest nuclear weapons country in the world.”
Therefore, it’s an uphill battle to convince people in her state government to work towards disarmament and to stop investing in nuclear weapons.
“This is especially true in the 6th District, which includes Kitsap Bangor naval base, and where the military is a major employer,” Adams said. “This makes this a challenging topic not just for members of Congress, but also the people living there, who may see this as their livelihood. To be clear, we do not advocate for closing the base itself.”
Nevertheless, Adams thinks the movement is having impact, pointing to how positions of many members of state Congress have shifted regarding nuclear weapons issues.
“We’ve seen some members of Congress become strong and outspoken advocates for safer nuclear weapons policies and reductions in US the arsenal and spending,” Adams said. “Some members of Congress who previously had not engaged on this issue at all have taken significant actions in the last couple of years, like co-sponsoring bills or voting against new warheads, at our urging.”
Public opinion is ripe for change, too. Skelton acknowledges that nuclear weapons policy is far outside most people’s daily concerns, but added, “I imagine that most people would prefer to spend the majority of our nuclear weapons budget on other things that would improve their daily lives.”
Stopping the Nuclear Spending Spree
Under the Obama administration, the US and Russia signed the New START Treaty, which requires both countries to decrease their nuclear arsenals. In order to pass the treaty, the Obama administration made a compromise allowing the remaining nuclear arsenal to be “modernized.”
According to Adams, this kicked off what is now a $1.7 trillion spending spree on nuclear weapons over the next 30 years, which comes out to $4.6 million every single hour.
This includes not only upgrading existing weapons, but actually replacing every part of the nuclear triad (submarines, ground-based missiles, bombers and air-launched missiles) and making new nuclear weapons, like the heavily debated low-yield weapons that came up this year.
Therefore, Adams urges people to engage in a variety of forms of anti-nuclear advocacy, such as writing op-eds, attending public forums and demonstrations, passing resolutions, or undertaking civil disobedience and direct action in order to “favorably impact policy makers and policies.”
Delegations including WPSR members and staff, alongside representatives from the statewide coalition they’ve formed, have been meeting with members of Congress in Washington in most districts.
The meetings involve reinforcing policy steps and pronouncements that the member has already made, coupled with specific policy “asks” and explorations of areas of potential collaboration. The coalition also works to influence Congress members on impending legislation.
“Mobilizing hundreds of individual contacts to a member of Congress within a few days on a specific piece of legislation has been both possible and effective, a strategy for eliciting public pressure and visibility not seen on nuclear issues in Washington for years,” Adams said.
Skelton explained that WPSR took the lead in forming this coalition at this particular time because no one else was doing it. ”While we were still raising awareness of nuclear issues and talking with elected representatives about them, we recognized that we would make a much better case in doing so alongside others,” Skelton said. “Whether or not a person chooses to think about it, nuclear weapons (including military spending and the risks posed by nearby weapons) affect us all.”
Skelton believes that by raising a chorus of diverse voices and concerns — and showing policy makers that this is an issue that many people care about — they are once again putting a spotlight on nuclear concerns in Washington State and demanding that their lawmakers support better and safer nuclear policies.
Her hope is that if the majority of members of Congress in Washington State call for nuclear weapons to be taken off high alert and urged on a path toward disarmament, this could inspire similar efforts elsewhere.
“If we had enough people nationally saying these things, my dream would be for the US to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” she said.
Adams is also concerned about other nuclear issues, such as working to ensure peace and diplomacy with North Korea – and the fact that President Trump has the sole authority to launch nuclear weapons.
Amundson, who has been a member of PSR for more than 35 years, believes one of the best policy outcomes from WPSR’s latest effort would be “to stop most — or all — of the proposed legislation to rebuild the entire nuclear triad.”
Amundson thinks this is a critical time for doing so, given the cost is clearly unsustainable in addition to it eclipsing other public needs. Two-thirds of the rest of the world’s nations have already signed on to abolish nuclear weapons.
“Our position is that if these policies succeed, and the US has a newly built arsenal, the die is cast for the next 30-40 years,” he said. “Once in place, we know the power of the military/corporate/congressional complex.”
Time to Bring Back the Anti-Nuclear Movement
Skelton again acknowledged that nuclear issues aren’t currently one of the top concerns for most progressive groups, but asks why, given the potential (and actual) consequences.
“Why are we not talking about the massive spending earmarked for these weapons, or the unthinkable destruction and destabilization they represent?” she asked. “For me, another desirable outcome of our campaign would be that people are regularly asking these questions, talking with candidates about them and demanding more progress on nuclear policies.”
Although the Cold War has long been officially over, few people are actively calling for changing Cold War-era policies and making serious reductions in US nuclear arsenals.
Amundson believes that, via WPSR’s work across the country with other PSR chapters and affiliated organizations that oppose nuclear weapons, Washington now has the most extensive and professionally organized anti-nuclear movement of any state.
“It’s a sad commentary on the atrophy of anti-nuclear advocacy over the 30 years since the collapse of the USSR, when everyone went to sleep on these threats,” he said.
However, there’s hope: Amundson believes the work they are doing now serves as a model for other organizations across the US. Meanwhile, what keeps Adams’s eyes on the proverbial ball is continuing to work directly with communities across Washington State that have been directly affected by the nuclear weapons industry.
“The entire process of creating nuclear weapons harms those involved and the surrounding environment, and historically, the communities most affected are communities of color, Indigenous people and low-income communities,” she said. “This is clear around the world, but also very clear right here in Washington, where many of our communities have been devastated by the nuclear weapons industry.”
While the potential deaths due to a nuclear catastrophe are what are usually considered when the topic of nuclear weapons arises, people in the communities Adams mentioned are already dying from the effects of nuclear weapons production.
“Their stories are not often told, and in debates about nuclear policy, their voices are not often heard,” Adams said. “As we work towards a world without nuclear weapons and try to change policy, it’s crucial that we build relationships with these communities and, hopefully, make it easier for them to be at the center of these debates and help lead these efforts.”
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Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. Dahr Jamail is also the author of the book, The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press. He lives and works in Washington State.
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