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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

'We Must Learn to Live Together as Brothers or Perish as Fools'



As we face endless wars and the climate emergency with dwindling resources available to humanity, and while famines and lack of water become paramount as facts of life in ways we are not prepared for, those of us who hold to an ideal of a common humanity will have to confront these greatest of challenges. (Photo: Steve Eason/Flickr/cc)


By uniting as a common humanity, we can ultimately address the enormous challenges facing us.


By Mary Hladky and Thea Paneth
Common Dreams

Sept 10, 2019 - We are living in a profoundly dangerous moment. 

We write as members of the coordinating committee of United for Peace and Justice, a national network of peace groups.  We are long time activists and mothers of grown children.  We worry that violence in America is spinning out of control.  There are a multitude of alarming crises facing our country and the world which can overwhelm and paralyze us, preventing us from taking action. But there are things we can do.  We want to address some of these issues and suggest positive actions we can take.   

Across the U.S., hate speech emanating from a resurgent white nationalist movement is further dividing our country and erupting in violence.  

There is tremendous inequality in our country; 40% of Americans struggle every day to make ends meet and have legitimate fears about their future. The white nationalist movement capitalizes on these fears and emotions with rhetoric that demonizes “others.”  This movement spreads the idea that these undeserving “others” are working the system and depriving “real” Americans, when, in fact, the economic struggles people face are due to the rigged system that overwhelmingly showers financial benefits on the ultra-rich and corporations. 

Too many people are falling prey to this language and its powerful but misguided message.  FBI Director Wray recently told lawmakers that the majority of domestic terrorism involved some sort of white supremacist ideology.  

After so many mass shootings people are nervous about shopping, going to the movies, attending religious services, night clubs or large outdoor events.  And many are terrified to send their children to school.   The epidemic of mass shootings puts at risk the lives of anyone living in or visiting the United States.  

At political rallies and on Twitter our President uses “us versus them language” stoking fear, resentment, and anger to rile up his base.  It also has emboldened the white nationalist movement.  

Unfortunately, the President’s language, and the quiet acquiescence it receives from Republican leadership, provides the movement with a veneer of respectability, persuading many of its validity.   

Demeaning and dehumanizing language is the first step in creating a justification that some people are “sub-human” and may be legitimately mistreated, attacked or killed.  This language has a long history and deep roots in America.  It is difficult to acknowledge this uncomfortable reality, but it is something we must face and then dismantle. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

'Unprecedented, Wasteful, and Obscene': House Approves $1.48 Trillion Pentagon Budget














"Wanna know how broken and captured Washington is by the Pentagon and the corruption of our nation's 'defense' budget? Well, look no further than the soon to be enacted budget 'deal.'"

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

July 26, 2019 - In a bipartisan deal that one anti-war critic said demonstrates how thoroughly "broken and captured Washington is by the Pentagon," 219 House Democrats and 65 Republicans on Thursday voted to approve a budget agreement that includes $1.48 trillion in military spending over the next two years.

Just 16 Democrats—including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—voted against the two-year, $2.7 trillion budget agreement. Largely due to expressed concerns about the deficit, 132 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) also voted no.

The final vote was 284-149. (See the full roll call.)

"For the love of god, can we all stop pretending like this is somehow anything other than a continued orgy of unprecedented, wasteful, and obscene spending at the Pentagon."
—Stephen Miles, Win Without War
The House passage of the budget deal, which President Donald Trump quickly applauded on Twitter as a victory for the military, comes after the Congressional Progressive Caucus threatened in April to tank the measure in opposition to its out-of-control Pentagon outlays.

But most of the Progressive Caucus voted for the agreement on Thursday, pointing to increases in domestic spending.

"It's not a perfect deal by any means," Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement ahead of the vote. "This deal does not address the bloated Pentagon budget, but it does begin to close the gap in funding for families, by allocating more new non-defense spending than defense spending for the first time in many years."