The numbers coming out of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can be overwhelming and numbing.
First are the financial costs. Weapons contractor Lockheed’s defense contracts in 2008 came to $115 billion, according to Public Citizen.
CODEPINK said in an e-mail that the D.C. city council is considering paying defense contractor Northrop Grumman $25 million in taxpayers’ money to move its headquarters to the District of Columbia. According to a Northrop promotional video, the corporation receives 65 cents out of every $1 the government spends on “defense.”
The Indiana War Memorials Commission (IWMC), U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc., City of Indianapolis and Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) have a plan for some of the last undeveloped land left in downtown Indianapolis: a memorial to the decommissioned nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Indianapolis.
On May 22 of last year, the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD), which owns the site, held a "canal stakeholders" meeting in response to the grassroots organization Canal Park Advocates' (CPA) request for an opportunity for public comments.
At the meeting U.S. Submarine Veterans described the plan, and several citizens in attendance questioned the appropriateness of the memorial for the site.
No news is good news, as the saying goes, but when it comes to the legal case of Hugh Farrell and Gina "Tiga" Wertz, no news is ambiguous.
Farrell and Wertz engaged in peaceful protests against the I-69 highway, and the State of Indiana has charged them with felony racketeering and several misdemeanors.
Wertz is charged with intimidation, a class A demeanor, two counts; conversion (unauthorized use of someone else's property), a class A misdemeanor, two counts; and corrupt business influence (racketeering), a class C felony. Her bond was set at $10,000.
Use as many low-energy lightbulbs as you like, turn down the thermostat and drive a hybrid car, but whatever you do as an individual -- indeed, the sum of what we all do for the environment --does almost nothing to alleviate the U.S. military's destruction of the earth.
In The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, Barry Sanders writes that like other capitalist institutions, "each military branch ... must grow larger and fatter each year; expansion is the life blood of imperialism." Further, Sanders asserts, "The military can brook limits of no kind whatsoever. ... The Pentagon conducts its business behind very thick and very closed doors. It writes its own rules and either follows them or violates them, depending on the situation."
Almost all "military numbers remain off of official reports, secret and out of sight." Sanders obtained the information he cites in the book by gleaning what he could from "arcane reports" and obscure Web sites belonging to the Department of Defense and Government Accounting Office, plus books and articles.
They're clean! They're green! Or so the industry PR boasts about biomass power plants. If anything, the opposite is true.
Biomass is any substance that isn't a fossil fuel and is arguably organic. Wood waste is one of the primary fuels that biomass incinerators burn. Wood waste includes industrial wood waste (like shipping pallets and sawdust), which is often contaminated with toxic chemicals and plastics that form dioxin, the most potent carcinogen ever studied, when burned.
Biomass power plants aren't built in white, middle-class neighborhoods but in urban neighborhoods populated with poor people of color. Other prime locations are poor, rural areas, such as Crawford County, in southwest Indiana.
On Feb. 1 President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve a record $708 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2011. The budget calls for a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget to $549 billion, plus $159 billion to fund the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But citizens aren't sitting by while the Pentagon's budget balloons. On March 20, just after the seventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protestors will march on Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
On Friday evening, March 19, at least 55 Hoosiers and Kentucky residents will board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for the second peace march since President Obama was elected. Participants will demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Thursday, Jan. 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that’s already reverberating throughout the nation.
The decision, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allows business corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to electoral campaigns, including attack ads. The Court ruled that for-profit corporations can exercise their First Amendment rights to lobby candidates by buying the outcomes of elections.
Even President Obama, in an ephemeral moment of liberal feeling, opposes the decision. According to the New York Times, right after the court issued the decision, Obama called it “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics.”
We live in an age of attacks on human and civil rights -- for instance, jailing people indefinitely without charging them with a crime and combating protestors violently, such as at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh a few months ago. People who dissent or engage in left-wing activism are right to worry about being charged with a crime despite not doing anything the Constitution doesn't allow.
To prepare activists for visits by federal law-enforcement agents, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has republished If an Agent Knocks, a 47-page booklet that it's distributing to the public free of charge. Originally published in 1989, the booklet was revised and updated this past September.
CCR describes its mission as follows. "The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization [and public interest law firm] committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change."
It's not every day that the U.S. secretary of defense comes to Bloomington to address the new graduates and receive an honorary doctorate. Local peace activists saw this event, which took place at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19 at Assembly Hall, as a call to action.
On the cold, snowy Saturday morning, 22 people with signs stood, conversing quietly, across from the south entrance to Assembly Hall as people arrived to observe a commencement ceremony that featured Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Gates served as secretary of defense under President George W. Bush and continues in that role today under President Barack Obama. He was the director of the CIA from 1991 to 1993. Before that, from 1986 to 1989, he was the deputy director of the CIA.
Fourteen people braved the cold Friday night to hold a candlelight vigil at the Monroe County Courthouse Square to demonstrate their concern about global climate change and the meeting about it now taking place in Copenhagen, where world government officials are meeting to craft a treaty that will ameliorate the worst effects of climate change.
The vigil was a follow-up to the worldwide demonstrations on Oct. 24 in support of a critical goal, reducing the world's CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million from the current 390 parts per million.
"We're asking the world's leaders to follow the science," said Michael Beczkiewicz.