Action Alerts

Dear friends,

Please click on the link below for Action Alert #74.

Gary Sandman
Plowshare Director

540-492-3582
plowshare@plowshareva.org
www.plowshareva.org
Facebook page at Plowshare Peace & Justice Center
Facebook group at Plowshare Peace Center
Mail: Plowshare, PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

“The greatest power in the world is that of the Soul. Peace is its highest expression.”

Mohandas Gandhi

https://mcusercontent.com/e8a3e8aa0c9455450769d216f/files/49180219-4fe3-85b8-44cd-d5445a02a99e/AA_74_Jun29_2024.pdf

Plowshare Action Alert #73

June 15, 2024

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Appalachian Voices:  Tell Congress to support zombie mine prevention bills!

Today, hundreds of thousands of acres of coal mines are not being cleaned up, putting nearby communities at risk. If mines are properly cleaned up, the landowners can return the land to wildlife habitat or use the land for new projects such as farming, solar and wind facilities, trails, commercial or residential construction, and more. But as the coal industry has declined, coal companies are failing to clean up their messes. When mines are neither producing coal nor being reclaimed, we call these mines “zombie mines” — and these zombie mines put people nearby at risk of water pollution, landslides and other dangerous environmental impacts. Three new bills aim to make sure coal companies clean up their mines in a timely manner and make sure the companies set aside adequate funding to do so, ensuring that responsibility doesn’t end up falling to taxpayers, or worse — leaving communities with the dangerous mess of an unreclaimed mine. The Coal Cleanup Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 7940) and the Bond Improvement and Reclamation Assurance Act (H.R. 7941) outlaw certain bonding practices that have created countless zombie mines and tighten regulations to ensure coal companies will have enough money for reclamation.The Stream Protection and Vegetation Restoration Act (H.R. 8062) sets clear deadlines for how quickly parts of a mine must be cleaned up after the coal is removed.

Tell your lawmakers in Congress to to ensure coal companies are paying for mine clean up!

Link: https://appvoices.org/coal-impacts/stop-zombie-mines/

2. From the Oil and Gas Action Network: Tell Chevron CEO: No Fuel for Genocide!

We don’t expect Big Oil to behave ethically as they have always put profit over people. They have poisoned communities from Ecuador to Myanmar – and from California to the Niger Delta. But as the war in Gaza rages with over 35,000 people killed – Chevron is engaging in war profiteering, with their CEO even boasting about expanding their operations in the region while literally fueling the genocide of Palestinians. In support of Palestinian allies calling for a global boycott of Chevron –  we took action to confront them all month. We co-hosted an international webinar with global leaders sharing stories of Chevron’s atrocities, took to the water at their Richmond refinery with our friends from the Rich City Rays, hosted a community teach-in and resource fair, and supported the launch of a  Polluters Pay tax in Richmond with our community partners! And we capped things off last week when we headed out to Chevron’s brand-new global headquarters to disrupt their annual shareholders meeting.

Join the #BoycottChevron campaign and tell their CEO – No Fuel For Genocide. Take action here!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/boycottchevron

3. From Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter: Speak out against Gov. Youngkin’s repeal of Virginia’s Clean Car Standards!

Clean, electric-powered vehicles can drive Virginia towards a future free of tailpipe pollution, but Governor Youngkin is actively trying to take us off course.

The governor has declared that Virginia will no longer participate in Clean Car Standards. This policy delivers massive economic and health benefits for Virginia. It’s a common-sense program that aggressively reduces harmful tailpipe pollution while providing the freedom to choose clean transportation.

Virginia must keeps its Clean Car Standards to ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all Virginians. Send a message to Governor Youngkin today to show him you support Clean Car Standards!

Link: https://sierraclub.my.salesforce-sites.com/actions/virginia

4. From Civic Shout: Sign the petition for Medicare for All

Medical debt puts more than half a million U.S. citizens into bankruptcy each year. A third of those costs are not even going to medical care, but rather administrative costs. Dissatisfaction has grown over lack of transparency about healthcare prices, private insurers’ claims, and profits made by insurance companies while Americans skip or delay necessary appointments to avoid an unaffordable bill. It’s time to fix this system by implementing Medicare For All, which would help control skyrocketing costs, crack down on corporate profits and ensure that everyone in the United States has access to health care. The good news is that it is possible to cover every single American with comprehensive coverage without spending a penny more than we’re spending currently. Sign the petition today to demand medicare for all now.

Link: https://civicshout.com/p/medicare-for-all-now

5. From the Audubon Society: Tell Interior Department to Advance this National Park

The proposed Chuckwalla National Monument encompasses some 627,000 acres of public land in the California desert. The region holds an astonishing biodiversity of wildlife and is home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, Golden Eagles, Greater Roadrunners, and a host of other rare and endangered animals. 

A designated Chuckwalla National Monument will help preserve the region’s rich biodiversity, honor Tribal heritage, expand access to nature, boost the local economy by attracting more visitors, and protect the places that people and birds need to thrive. Urge U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to help advance its designation.

Link: https://act.audubon.org/a/chuckwalla

6. From Friends of Sabeel North America: Stop War Criminal Netanyahu from Addressing Congress

Rev. Alex Awad, Pastor Emeritus of East Jerusalem Baptist Church, composed a letter in response to congressional leadership’s shameful invitation for Israeli Prime Minister and known war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before congress. Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and the Palestinian Christians Alliance for Peace (PCAP) invite you to adapt and share his letter with your own members of Congress. Additional Actions you could: Call Your Representatives (see contacts below)

Use the letter as a template for submitting a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed in your local newspaper or preferred online news outlet/forum. 

Link: https://fosna.good.do/gazahospital/stopbibi/

Backgrounders

Analysis of the State of the World

HUMANITY’S SURVIVAL IS STILL WITHIN OUR GRASP

But only if we take these radical steps: Reduce emissions, build resilience, repair ecosystems, remove greenhouse gases: these are the four Rs that can save us.

By David King, The Guardian

May 27, 2024

David King is chair of the global Climate Crisis Advisory Group.  

“In 2008, the late American climate scientist Wally Broecker warned of the global repercussions of polar ice loss. Today, his predictions echo louder than ever as Greenland ice haemorrhages at an alarming rate, threatening rapid sea-level rise. Over the past 15 years, the Arctic Circle region has been heating up at four times the global average; it’s now more than 3C above levels in the 1980s. In 2023, we witnessed a staggering loss of Antarctic Sea ice.

Over the past year, land and ocean temperatures have soared, far beyond what was anticipated for an El Niño year. Global average temperatures have breached the 1.5C mark, indicating that climate transition has been unleashed. From record-breaking wildfires across continents to catastrophic floods threatening to submerge major cities, extreme climate events have become the new norm, causing massive loss of life and economic damage worldwide.

“Yet despite mounting evidence and urgent pleas, meaningful action falters. Global prosperity has historically emerged from fossil fuels. But the stranglehold of fossil fuel giants, generously subsidised by governments and financially backed by banks, places short-term profits over the planet’s survival. This entrenched dependency stymies efforts to transition to a sustainable future, despite the urgent need for change. GDP growth remains sacred, while climate, biodiversity, health, and social equity are sacrificed, condemning future generations to inherit a ravaged planet.

“I say this acutely aware of how making such statements can appear as virtue signalling, particularly to those in the global south, where development is still taking hold. This is not primarily about denying them their pathway, but changing where those of us in the developed world stand – and perhaps our final destination. On our current path, civilisation as we know it will disappear.”

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/27/humanity-survival-emissions-resilience-ecosystems-greenhouse-gases

Analysis by U of Chicago Prof. John Meirsheimer of dominant political ideologies and the history of Israel and Palestine

JOHN MEIRSHEIMER ON WORLD WAR III, RUSSIA AND ISRAEL

The Katie Halper Show on Patreon (1 hr 6 min)

June 12, 2024

Note to readers: This interview cuts to the roots of many foreign policy issues. There is a bar in the frame that gives titles of “chapters” of the video. Even more conveniently, just click on the “more” button and they all show up. Also note that during the few minutes at the end of the interview, Katie Halper shares several clips of European Parliament speeches by Irish MEP Clare Daly who just lost her seat in the European Parliament.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_YZB2HpqDc

About Foreign Policy and the Danger of Nuclear War

CROSSING RED LINES WITH JEFFREY SACHS

By The Duran Live on YouTube (interview, 1 hr)

June 5, 2024

A discussion of U.S. foreign policy history by Columbia University Prof. Jeffrey Sachs. Follow him at The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD),  https://csd.columbia.edu/

https://www.jeffsachs.org

From the comments:
“Kennedy’s sincerity in the quest for peace continued to impress Khrushchev the following June, when the U.S. leader gave an electrifying oration at American University, in which he soundly rejected the bellicose assumptions of the Cold War. The address, which would go down in history as the Peace Speech, carried echoes of Khrushchev’s own heartfelt pleas to Kennedy at the height of the Cuban crisis, when he had told JFK that the Russian people were neither ‘barbarians’ nor ‘lunatics’ and they loved life as much as the American people. At American University, Kennedy invoked the same sentiments, in the poetic cadence of speechwriter Sorensen. ‘We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”’

Talbot, David. The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015, p. 452). HarperCollins.

“To minimize instability and the risk of war, the United States will need to recognize that both Russia and China, as well as a rising number of mid-sized powers, will work to establish their own spheres of influence and play more active roles in international affairs.” – Ted Galen Carpenter, Senior Fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-gIFpYWPuA

Quote of Note

“Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.  War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.  In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.  The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.  No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare …”

– James Madison (1751-1836), founding father and 4th President of the U.S.

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative 

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter
KTemple peace action 23.png

Plowshare Action Alert #72

May 9, 2024

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Native Organizers Alliance Action Fund: Stop Attempts to Weaken the Antiquities Act

For more than a century the Antiquities Act, a bedrock conservation law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, has been critical to protecting Native sacred places across the United States from the threat of profit-driven development and environmental destruction.

President Biden has already used the power of the Antiquities Act to designate Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona, and Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada, heeding the calls of Tribal Nations pushing for permanent federal protections. In total, so far Biden has protected 1.5 million acres of public land as national monuments in just his first term.

Now, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands is considering legislation that would dramatically weaken the Antiquities Act. They want to take this power away from presidents, especially President Biden, even though many Republican presidents have designated important public lands too.

In fact, together, nine Democratic and nine Republican presidents have established 161 national monuments through this authority.  

The Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act would require Congress to approve the establishment of a national monument. If it’s not approved within six months, the president — including future presidents — would then be prohibited from designating a monument to conserve that land for 25 years.

Congress already has the authority to establish, modify, or revoke national monuments. But Presidents can move more quickly to designate monuments, protecting more land and more places of cultural and spiritual significance.

Indigenous peoples are still fighting for our inherent right to sovereignty, to manage our ancestral lands and waters. We need as many tools as possible to make treaty rights a reality, including the Antiquities Act.

The Antiquities Act is more necessary than ever as climate change accelerates and the fossil fuel and mineral extraction industries gain power in our government to stop legislation protecting public lands from encroaching development.

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/antiquities-act/ 

2. From Save the Children: Tell Congress to build a more sustainable world

How does climate change affect kids globally? Every year, extreme weather disrupts 40 million children’s education. Pollution and hunger are exposing growing bodies to illness and disease  By 2040, one in four kids will have severely limited access to any water source. Famine, drought and other disasters are forcing families to flee their homes. Children born today will experience 7X more heatwaves, 2X more wildfires and 3X more crop failures, droughts and floods than their grandparents. When adults fail to act, kids suffer the consequences. It’s happening around the globe – and it’s happening fast.  Act Now! Urge Congress to put kids’ futures first. We can still make a difference.

Link: https://act.savethechildrenactionnetwork.org/a/earth-day-advocacy-2024

3. From Just Foreign Policy: Say ‘Thanks’ to Antiwar Reps!

The Senate is likely to pass the $26.4 billion in military aid to Israel, and it is important that those representatives in the House who voted ‘No’ feel the support of this team and know that their efforts to move the Middle East toward peace are not lost on us. Sign our message to the 37 members of Congress who voted against sending billions more in weapons to Israel and tell them we appreciate their courage to stand up to the US and Israeli war machine’s death and devastation in Gaza!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/thank-representatives-who-voted-against-unconditional-aid/

4. From Green America: Stop Greenwashing Retirement Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed a rule to prevent investment funds and advisers from using misleading marketing and advertising tactics to sell Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment funds to investors, including workers saving for retirement. If finalized, the rule will tackle rampant greenwashing and other exaggerated claims about what a fund’s investment strategy really is (or isn’t). For example, funds that have names like “Green” or “Sustainable” will need to describe their strategies and how they implement them. But here’s the catch: If the SEC does not finalize the rule soon, then it may be subject to a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, a tool that is used by Congress to overturn federal regulation. The SEC needs encouragement to do the right thing and issue a strong ESG rule that can protect retirement savers and beat the CRA clock. Submit a public comment right now to the SEC: Protect working people’s retirement savings by cracking down on misleading marketing and sustainability claims.

Link: https://action.greenamerica.org/page/66829/action/1

5. From Win Without War: No more weapons should be given to Netanyahu’s government

Over one million starving and scared people are huddled in Rafah, many after coming there from being forced out of their homes. Some were given just hours to flee — and even before that unreasonably small window of time had elapsed, the IDF started raining down bombs. This isn’t about self-defense. This isn’t about making anyone in Israel, Palestine, or anywhere safe. If Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu proceeds down this path families will have to choose between being torn apart by explosives or pushed across the border and likely permanently displaced. U.S. credibility — and hundreds of thousands of lives — are on the line. President Biden has to be ready to respond, and that’s where you come in. So far, President Biden has now stopped the steady flow of U.S. weapons that flow to the IDF, but momentum is building for him to change course. What happens next could change everything. Add your name now to send Biden a clear message: The U.S. government must secure a ceasefire and stop an assault on Rafah, and condition offensive weapons to Israel to make sure it happens.

Link: https://act.winwithoutwar.org/act/ceasefire-rafah

Backgrounders

Analysis of Middle East Conflict between Israel and Iran

THE MISSILES OF APRIL

By Scott Ritter

Apr. 14, 2024

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union, implementing arms control agreements, and on the staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War, where he played a critical role in the hunt for Iraqi SCUD missiles. From 1991 until 1998, Mr. Ritter served as a Chief Inspector for the United Nations in Iraq, leading the search for Iraq’s proscribed weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Ritter was a vocal critic of the American decision to go to war with Iraq. His new book, Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika: Arms Control and the End of the Soviet Union, is his ninth.  

Excerpt:
“(I)t is Israel that has done the most damage to itself, carrying out a genocidal policy of retribution against the civilian population of Gaza. The Israeli actions in Gaza are the living manifestation of the very hubris and power-driven policies I warned about back in 2006-2007. Then, I said that the US would not be willing to be a passenger in a policy bus driven by Israel that would take us off the cliff of an unwinnable war with Iran.

“Through its criminal behavior toward the Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Israel has lost the support of much of the world, putting the United States in a position where it will see its already-tarnished reputation irreparably damaged, at a time when the world is transitioning from a period of American-dominated singularity to a BRICS-driven multipolarity, and the US needs to retain as much clout in the so-called “global south” as possible. …

“Any Iranian retaliation against Israel would need to navigate these extremely complicated policy waters, enabling Iran to impose a viable deterrence posture designed to prevent future Israeli attacks while making sure that neither its policy objectives regarding a geopolitical pivot to the east, nor the elevation of the cause of Palestinian statehood on the global stage, were sidetracked.

“The Iranian attack on Israel appears to have successfully maneuvered through these rocky policy shoals. It did so first and foremost by keeping the United States out of the fight. Yes, the United States participated in the defense of Israel, helping shoot down scores of Iranian drones and missiles. This engagement was to the benefit of Iran, since it only reinforced the fact that there was no combination of missile defense capability that could, in the end, prevent Iranian missiles from hitting their designated targets.

“The targets Iran struck—two air bases in the Negev desert from which aircraft used in the April 1 attack on the Iranian consulate had been launched, along with several Israeli air defense sites—were directly related to the points Iran was trying to make in establishing the scope and scale of its deterrence policy. First, that the Iranian actions were justified under Article 51 of the UN Charter—Iran retaliated against those targets in Israel directly related to the Israeli attack on Iran, and second, that Israeli air defense sites were vulnerable to Iranian attack. The combined impact of these two factors is that all of Israel was vulnerable to being struck by Iran at any time, and that there was nothing Israel or its allies could do to stop such an attack.”

Link: https://www.scottritterextra.com/p/the-missiles-of-april

Photo of note

Link: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/israel-palestinians-gaza-woman/

Analysis of the Ukraine War

HOW 10 YEARS OF US MEDDLING IN UKRAINE UNDERMINED DEMOCRACY AND FUELED WAR

While the Biden administration claims to be “defending democracy” in Ukraine, its role there has caused political upheaval from Kyiv to Washington. A Ukrainian insider reveals new details.

By Aaron Mate, Apr. 30, 2024

Excerpt:

“Over the last decade, Ukraine has been the battleground in a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia – a conflict massively escalated by the Kremlin’s invasion in 2022. The fight erupted in early 2014, when Biden and his team, then serving in the Obama administration, supported the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Leveraging billions of dollars in U.S. assistance, Washington has shaped the personnel and policies of subsequent Ukrainian governments, all while expanding its military and intelligence presence in Ukraine via the CIA and NATO. During this period, Ukraine has not become an independent self-sustaining democracy, but a client state heavily dependent on European and U.S. support, which has not protected it from the ravages of war.

“The Biden-Obama team’s meddling in Ukraine has also had a boomerang effect at home.

“As well-connected Washington Beltway insiders such as Hunter Biden have exploited it for personal enrichment, Ukraine has become a source of foreign interference in the U.S. political system – with questions of unsavory dealings arising in the 2016 and 2020 elections as well as the first impeachment of Donald Trump. After years of secrecy, CIA sources have only recently confirmed that Ukrainian intelligence helped generate the Russian interference allegations that engulfed Trump’s presidency. House Democrats’ initial attempt to impeach Trump, undertaken in the fall of 2019, came in response to his efforts to scrutinize Ukraine’s Russiagate connection.

“This account of U.S. interference in Ukraine, which can be traced to fateful decisions made by the Obama administration, including then-Vice President Biden and his top aides, is based on often overlooked public disclosures. It also relies on the personal testimony of Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat and Democratic Party-tied political consultant who worked closely with U.S. officials to promote regime change in Ukraine.”

Link: https://www.aaronmate.net/p/how-10-years-of-us-meddling-in-ukraine

About the H

THE WEST IS DESTROYING INTERNATIONAL LAW

Israel & Co. Shattering All Norms of Intl. Law Will Haunt Us All

Craig Murray, Former UK Ambassador

April 12, 2024

Craig Murray is a retired British Ambassador turned activist. In this message recorded in April, he explains cogently why Israel’s systematic breaking of international law and the West’s complicity in it are leading to dire consequences for all of us. Attacking embassies, bombing civilian infrastructure, executing non-combatants, intentionally starving a besieged population, and other war crimes are a breach of norms enshrined in the Geneva Convention, the Vienna convention, and other foundational multilateral treaties that make up the fabric of the international world.

International law only works when the international community actually believes in it. There is no supra-national police man who could enforce these laws with due authority. Hence, the laws only carry weight to the extend that all states agree they should be kept. The systematic breaking of these laws—with limitless impunity—and the support for that by the Collective West will hunt us all. We might all become Palestinians if our states decide that they are not bound anymore by the conventions of old and the principles of humanitarianism.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2juV794znnI&list=TLPQMTMwNDIwMjRNZi26-Mxm1w&index=36

Of Note:

      These are the Democratic lawmakers who voted against the aid package to Israel:

Becca Balint of Vermont

Don Beyer of Virginia

Earl Blumenauer of Oregon

Jamaal Bowman of New York

Cori Bush of Missouri

Andre Carson of Indiana

Greg Casar of Texas

Joaquin Castro of Texas

Judy Chu of California

Mark DeSaulnier of California

Lloyd Doggett of Texas

Maxwell Frost of Florida

John Garamendi of California

Chuy García of Illinois

Al Green of Texas

Jonathan Jackson of Illinois

Pramila Jayapal of Washington

Hank Johnson of Georgia

Ro Khanna of California

Dan Kildee of Michigan

Barbara Lee of California

Summer Lee of Pennsylvania

Jim McGovern of Massachusetts

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York

Ilhan Omar of Minnesota

Chellie Pingree of Maine

Mark Pocan of Wisconsin

Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts

Delia Ramirez of Illinois

Jamie Raskin of Maryland

Mark Takano of California

Bennie Thompson of Mississippi

Rashida Tlaib of Michigan

Jill Tokuda of Hawaii

Nydia Velázquez of New York

Maxine Waters of California

Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey

            Link:  

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative 

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #71
April 9, 2024
Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee
Dear friends,
The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy
causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

  1. From the Union of Concerned Scientists: Stop Greenwashing in the Financial Sector
    As the climate crisis worsens, investors and retirement account holders of all sizes are increasingly interested in investing their money in ways that aren’t harmful to the environment and human rights. In
    response, financial institutions and asset managers are advertising a growing number of investment
    funds that take environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into account.
    However, a lack of standardization and transparency about what is really included in these funds makes
    them vulnerable to greenwashing and makes it hard for investors to know whether their money is really
    being used in less harmful ways. A new rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission
    (SEC) would require standardized ESG disclosures from these funds, including disclosing the global
    warming emissions associated with their portfolio investments. This rule could help reduce greenwashing in the financial industry. But with congressional deadlines looming, representatives and regulators
    need to hear that getting this rule over the finish line is a priority.
    Write today and urge your member of Congress to encourage the SEC to finalize and publish the rule on
    ESG Disclosures for Investment Advisers and Investment Companies.:
    Link: https://secure.ucsusa.org/a/2024-help-prevent-greenwashing
  2. From Rashida Tlaib: Tell Biden and Congress to Stop sending Weapons to Israel
    The U.S. government is complicit in the atrocities in Gaza. In the past 5 months, the Biden administration has approved and delivered more than 100 military sales to Israel, sending thousands of bombs and
    oth er weapons that have been used to kill more than 13,000 Palestinian ch ildren in Gaza. The majority
    of Americans oppose weapon shipments to Israel and support a permanent ceasefire. As Israel’s biggest
    military supplier and funder, the U.S. government has leverage to end this genocide. Yet, Congress voted
    to cut funding for UNRWA, the main provider and distributor of desperately needed aid in Gaza. Signed
    into law by President Biden, this new legislation also continues sending billions of American tax dollars
    to Israel’s military, unconditionally. UN experts and human rights groups like Oxfam have urged the
    U.S. and all countries to abide by international humanitarian law and stop arms exports to Israel’s government. Canada just joined the list of countries halting weapons sales to Israel. Sign petition to tell
    President Biden and Congress: Stop sending weapons to Israel’s military as it commits genocide.
    Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/ads_ms_20240328_nomoreweapons
  3. From Oceana: Tell Feds to Protect Critically Endangered Whales
    You may have read in the Roanoke Times about the 8 critically endangered right whales that have died
    and washed up on our Atlantic beaches recently, eight as of this writing. Congress is considering improvements to federal rules that protect North Atlantic right whales from boat strikes — a top threat to
    this species that only has around 356 whales remaining. Twenty whales have been struck by boats since
  4. Tell your members of Congress to oppose all bills and amendments that would block necessary
    expansion of existing federal rules that require boats to slow down in key areas and seasons where North
    Atlantic right whales are found. Almost all of these “slow zones” would not impact U.S. boaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day – the most popular boating months – as most of the whales are in
    Canada at those times. If carveouts of federal rules are passed, these critically endangered whales will
    likely be doomed to extinction. Tell your federal government officials to protect North Atlantic right
    whales from extinction-causing legislation and oppose all efforts to delay needed protections.
    Link: https://act.oceana.org/page/131030/action/1
  5. From Demand Justice and multiple other organizations: Stop Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025
    Project 2025 is a plan orchestrated by conservative think tanks that could destabilize our country’s precarious political balance. The project aims to alter the federal workforce, replacing career professionals
    with radical right-wing individuals. This strategy (including the reinstatement of Trump-era policies)
    threatens to convert a nonpartisan civil service into a partisan tool, undermining the very foundation of a
    democratic and impartial government. The initiative also advocates for policies that increase executive
    power by diminishing the independence of federal agencies and dismantling crucial checks and balances. Moreover, its policy agenda includes attacks on environmental protections, diversity initiatives,
    and abortion rights, moving us closer to authoritarian governance. Project 2025 is an ideological insurrection against democratic norms. It presents a danger to the principles of equality, justice, and the rule
    of law, core tenets of a functioning democracy. If we want to maintain a healthy democracy, we quash
    Project 2025. Say NO to a right-wing takeover. Reject Project 2025!.
    Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-say-no-to-a-right-wing-coup-rejectproject-2025-4
    Backgrounders
    Analysis of Global Politics by University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer
    WHAT’S BEHIND BIDEN’S BLANK CHECK SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL?
    The war in Ukraine, defending Taiwan, and other topics of international stress.
    Interviewed by Gita Wirjawan on YouTube
    Mar. 21, 2024
    This is the second interview Wirjawan did with Prof. Mearsheimer on wars and great power politics. Watch the first one here: https://youtu.be/Yl7goPRw_eE. In this second interview
    Mearsheimer begins with the current status of the war in Ukraine. John Mearsheimer is the R.
    Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in the Political Science Department at the
    University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He is an international relations theorist.
    His stance is that the great powers dominate the international system and they constantly engage
    in security competition with each other, which sometimes leads to war. He was one of the most
    outspoken opponents of the 2003 Iraq War before it happened. He holds that social science theories are invaluable for making and analyzing foreign policy.
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39_bpaaio1U
    Update on the Israeli-U.S. War in Gaza
    BIDEN HAS HAD THE POWER TO STOP ISRAEL’S WAR CRIMES IN GAZA SINCE DAY
    1
    Netanyahu’s decision to allow aid through the Erez crossing under US pressure shows how much
    more Biden could be doing.
    By Stephen Zunes , TRUTHOUT
    April 5, 2024
    Excerpt:
    (T)he Biden administration has the power to stop Israel’s offensive in Gaza in its tracks. Though
    Congress authorizes military aid, the president has the authority under the Arms Export Control
    Act to withhold (or threaten to withhold) U.S. military aid when the recipient nation violates
    U.S. or international law. In terms of the international legal system, Israel is currently violating
    the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in war time, among a number
    of other statutes, and it is violating UN Security Council Resolution 2728, which demands an
    immediate temporary ceasefire. Israel is also in violation of Section 502B(c) of the 1961 Foreign
    Assistance Act, which prohibits aid to countries that prevent access to humanitarian relief supplies; the 1999 Leahy Amendment, which prohibits funding foreign security forces engaged in
    the commission of gross violations of human rights; and Biden’s own National Security Memorandum 20, which requires U.S. security partners to provide written assurances that they will use
    U.S. military assistance in accordance with international law and facilitate humanitarian aid. …
    “Congress is refusing to force the administration to abide by the law, thereby allowing the president to continue to provide its far right ally with weapons and doing nothing to stop the killing.
    Meanwhile, Biden and his supporters can perpetuate the myth that he is doing everything in his
    power to constrain Netanyahu. Despite the apparently successful efforts to allow more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, the Biden administration approved the transfers of thousands of
    more bombs to Netanyahu’s forces just hours after the Israeli attacks on the World Central
    Kitchen staffers.”
    Link: https://truthout.org/articles/biden-has-had-the-power-to-stop-israels-war-crimes-in-gazasince-day-1/
    About the Human Footprint on the Planet
    STATE OF THE GLOBAL CLIMATE 2023
    By World Meteorological Organization
    March 19, 2024
    Video animation
    Link: https://wmo.int/publication-series/state-of-global-climate-2023
    Also:
    MERCY ME: PHOTOS SHOW WHAT HUMANS HAVE DONE TO THE PLANET IN THE
    ANTHROPOCENE AGE
    By Jonathan Lambert and Rebecca Ellis
    On National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition
    March 29, 2024
    NOTE: 2023 was the 4th straight year over $100 billion of natural catastrophe losses. The insurance loss burden from catastrophes has more than doubled over the last 30 years.
    30 March 2024, Fortune.
    Three Canadian artists traveled to 22 countries to research and document “places of obvious,
    physical human incursions on the landscape.” They created images capturing the impact of humans on the Earth. Their expansive, multidisciplinary body of work is called The Anthropocene
    Project, which includes photography, film, virtual reality and augmented reality. It took four
    years to complete and has been shown at museums around the world. Check out this selection of
    photographs from the project.
    Link: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2024/03/29/1241234103/anthropocene-eraphotos-earth-human-scars-planet
  6. State of Ukraine-Russia Conflict and the Threat of Nuclear War
  7. AN ESCALATORY GAME FOR FOOLS AND MADMEN
  8. My speech to the United Nations Security Council on nuclear weapons, Ukraine and Gaza
  9. By Matthew Hoh (see embedded video of testimony)
  10. Mar. 25, 2024
  11. Hoh has been a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy since 2010. In 2009, he
  12. resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan with the State Department over the American
  13. escalation of the war. Prior to this, Hoh took part in the American occupation of Iraq; first in
  14. 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team
  15. and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. Matt Hoh
  16. worked on Afghanistan and Iraq war policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department.
  17. Excerpt:
  18. “The US and NATO strategy for the war in Ukraine has been two-pronged: economic and military. Neither have worked and neither will work. As the strategy has failed, it has not been revisited, replaced or remanded, but reinforced. Thus, we have seen a steady wave of escalation for
  19. two years.
  20. “The US and its allies never considered diplomacy, a needed third prong, which should have
  21. been the primary and dominant effort. Diplomacy was openly disparaged and repudiated. This
  22. was appalling diplomatic malpractice. And now, as a consequence, we sit here today as the
  23. killing, the destruction and the suffering enter their 26th month.
  24. “The reality in warfare is that whatever new technology or tactic you introduce, your enemy will
  25. counter it and, more often than not, does so in an escalatory manner, to which you respond in
  26. kind. It is circular by nature but also linear, hence the infamous escalation ladder. You escalate or
  27. you de-escalate. There is no neutral or parallel option.”
  28. Link: https://matthewhoh.substack.com/p/an-escalatory-game-for-fools-and
  29. Of Note:
  30. Letter to the Editor, Roanoke Times on the Ukraine War.
  31. by Plowshare member Cynthia Munley
  32. Sunday, Mar. 17, 2024
  33. Excerpt:
  34. “(T)he U.S. can best help itself and Ukraine by advising negotiations while Ukraine still retains
  35. ample territory to rebuild and coherently redefine itself. Ukraine missed the first peace opportunity at the war’s start when the U.S. sent Boris Johnson to Istanbul to scuttle promising negotiations with Russia to ensure that Ukraine would continue fighting Russia.
  36. Two years later, negotiation can prevent Ukraine losing more land to Russia. Additional weapons
  37. and money won’t enable Ukraine to regain territories. It is unsustainable for the U.S. to forever
  38. pay Ukraine’s expensive upkeep — its bureaucracy, pensions, health care, defense and
  39. and its corrupt
  40. practices.
  41. “Policymakers who say the U.S. ‘benefits’ by allowing Ukrainians to die instead of Americans
  42. reveal their morally nefarious intent to simply use Ukraine. Their unrealistic demand that
  43. Ukrainians mount a counteroffensive further decimated Ukrainian forces now totaling around
  44. 500,000 dead. Ukraine had enough weaponry to carry out their counteroffensive and it failed.
  45. Negotiations must take place for the benefit of all.”
  46. Link: https://roanoke.com/opinion/letters/letter-more-us-aid-isnt-the-answer-in-ukraine/article_d9cedc60-e21f-11ee-8f80-bb137d231910.html
  47. GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:
  48. Phone Numbers:
  49. Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
  50. Senator Warner (202) 224-2023
  51. Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
  52. Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative
  53. CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111 https://whitehouse.gov/contact
  54. CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov
KTemple peace action 23.png

Plowshare Action Alert #70
March 11, 2024
Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee
Dear friends,
The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy
causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

  1. From the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Tell the Virginia General Assembly to Support
    the Historic State Tax Credit
    Virginia’s historic tax credit provides critical financing for rehabilitating buildings in communities
    across the Commonwealth. By retaining, repairing, and reusing historic materials, owners put dilapidated historic buildings back into productive use. To ensure the incentive is a good use of taxpayer dollars,
    Virginia only awards this financial incentive once a historic building is substantially rehabilitated, placed
    in service, and generating income. Banks lend fewer dollars to historic rehabilitation projects compared
    to new construction, so state historic tax credits are critical to “filling the financing gap” and completing
    rehab projects. House Bill 960 would set an arbitrary cap on this development program, forcing many
    property owners to abandon their reinvestment projects and shelve many communities’ economic development plans. This cap would have a chilling effect on private investments in historic districts. However, Senate Bill 556 raises the per-project cap from $5 million to $10 million. A per-project cap ensures
    that the Commonwealth is incentivizing retrofitting and repair of historic buildings while also keeping
    any one project from using all the program’s credits. During this time when chambers are considering
    each other’s bills, please join the National Trust in reaching out to Virginia legislators about this critical
    financial incentive for historic preservation:
    Link: https://support.savingplaces.org/page/63799/action/1
  2. From Save the Children Action Network: Ask Congress to Create a Better Farm Bill
    33 children worldwide are born into hunger every minute. Day by day, conflict, extreme weather and
    economic instability are pushing their communities closer to famine. Families are facing the unimaginable – and kids are struggling to simply survive. Stronger international food aid programs would provide lifesaving support. Tell Congress: 153 million children are going hungry. Build a better Farm Bill
    today!
    Link: https://act.savethechildrenactionnetwork.org/a/food-for-peace-2-2024-2
  3. From Environment Virginia: Protect our National Parks and Monuments from Funding Cuts
    America’s 425 national parks, historic sites, monuments and other protected sites are impactful and inspirational places. They preserve environments, memorialize history and provide safe spaces for
    wildlife. Yet, members of Congress are considering stripping funding from national parks. Send a message today urging your U.S. senators to support more investment in our national parks, not less.
    Link: https://environmentamerica.org/virginia/take-action/tell-your-u-s-senators-fund-our-nationalparks/
  4. From Patriotic Millionaires: Support funding for the IRS
    The Inflation Reduction Act into law last year, it included $80 billion in much-needed funding for the
    IRS. For years, Republicans – and even some Democrats – had been deliberately underfunding the IRS to
    allow their wealthy donor friends to get away with not paying the taxes they owed.
    By deliberately hamstringing the IRS, they created a situation where the tax gap — the difference between taxes paid and taxes owed — is estimated to be as high as $1 trillion, with 70% of it coming from
    just the top 1% of taxpayers.
    Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence that additional funding is working, Republicans are still
    trying to defang the tax collectors to protect their wealthy donors. $20 million was clawed back from the
    IRS due to debt ceiling negotiations last year, and now Republicans are eyeing the rest of the funding as
    they look for ways to slash budgets and protect their rich friends.
    Research shows that for every $1 spent on making sure that wealthy tax cheats pay what they owe, we
    see, on average, a $22 return.
    Thanks to the infusion of funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS was able to collect
    $160 million from millionaire tax cheats, notified Microsoft that it owes $29 billion in taxes, and announced the audits of 60 giant corporations that together make more than $500 billion in profits each
    year. It’s essential that the IRS is able to do its job and that requires proper funding.
    Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-to-stop-protecting-wealthy-tax-cheats-and-rejectirs-funding-cuts/
  5. From the Sierra Club: Urge President Biden & Administrator Regan to Enact Strong Solutions
    for Pollution!
    Pollution threatens not only our climate and environment but also our health and well-being. That’s why
    we’re asking President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to adopt the strongest possible solutions for
    pollution! We’re at a critical juncture, and we cannot afford to delay action any longer.
    The economic toll of inaction cannot be understated. The surge in extreme weather events, directly attributed to climate change, is reaching alarming proportions. In just the first seven months of 2023, we
    witnessed a staggering fifteen confirmed climate disaster events causing losses exceeding $1 billion
    each. This figure does not even account for the heartbreaking loss of life and property resulting from unprecedented wildfires in Maui or the devastation wrought by Hurricane Idalia. Please sign the petition:
    Link: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/national?actionid=ar0402661&id=70131000001iOuIAAU
    Backgrounders
    Analysis of the Fallout from Israel’s Genocide In Gaza
    HOW NETANYAHU’S WAR COULD COLLAPSE ISRAEL
    The war is a total disaster for Israel.
    By David Hearst
    Jan. 26, 2024
    David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and
    speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was the Guardian’s foreign leader writer,
    and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNWFepc_8GE
    Commentaries about the Wars
  6. LIVING ON THE WRONG WORLD: A PLANETARY CEASE FIRE IS DESPERATELY
    NEEDED
    Tom Engelhardt, Informed Comment
    March 6, 2024
    Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books) and The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold
    War, The End of Victory Culture, and Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a
    Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and
    runs TomDispatch.com. A fellow of the Type Media Center, his sixth and latest book is A Nation
    Unmade by War.
    Excerpt:
    “In our strange brilliance, we humans came up with not one but two ways to utterly devastate
    humanity and the planet we live on. While the first, atomic weaponry, remains an ongoing threat
    of instantaneous destruction and horror, the second, a slow-motion version of ultimate destruction, the literal broiling of this planet over decades rather than minutes or hours, was
    launched almost two centuries ago. It was then that we humans began burning fossil fuels —
    coal, oil, and later natural gas — to power our industrialization and then our world. Today, the
    heating of this planet continues to accelerate day by day, month by month, year by year, decade
    by decade. Heat records of a surprising sort are now regularly being set locally and globally,
    while storms are becoming more devastating, droughts ever more “mega,” and forest
    fires fiercer, longer-lived, and more destructive.
    And remind me, what have we learned from such a world? Well, the United States certainly
    learned that it needed a military beyond compare and began pouring what would, in the end, be
    untold trillions of dollars into it. (As of 2023, our yearly “defense” spending would add up
    to more than that of the next 10 countries combined.)”
    Comment by Public Information Committee member Dr. Frank Munley about this analysis:
    “(T)he Tom Englehardt piece, while very good for the most part, annoys me when he says:
    “Now, however, the great powers on the planet are once again in a global nuclear arms race; key
    arms treaties have been left in the dust of history; rumors are rife about such weaponry spreading
    into space; and two nuclear powers — Russia and Israel — are at war at this very moment (even
    if not with each other). The Russian leadership has indeed threatened to use what are now called
    “tactical” nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine, though most of them are significantly
    more powerful than the bombs that took out Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Only recently, in fact,
    Russian President Vladimir Putin similarly threatened to use nuclear weaponry against European
    countries and the possible “destruction of civilization.’”
    As I’ve said many times, “Who provokes and who responds: that is the main question.” Russia’s
    nuclear policy says in so many words that nuclear weapons will be used only when the existence
    of the country is threatened. Below is something I put together in my timeline on the US’s policy.
    The US is the world’s schoolyard bully, and it is the bully who goes around looking to provoke a
    fight, acting stupid like picking a fight with another major nuclear power.
    Here it is:
    October 27, 2022, Biden’s National Defense Strategy finalized and released: The long-delayed
    National Defense Strategy-2022, which includes the Nuclear Posture Review, has been released.
    ‘Russia Matters’ summarizes: “As expected, the Nuclear Posture Review does not contain
    Biden’s promise of no first use, and calls Russia an ‘acute threat.’ The Biden administration has
    released its National Defense Strategy-2022, which includes the nuclear posture review (NPR)
    and the missile defense review (MDR).
    “The NPR reneges on Biden’s campaign promise to declare deterring or retaliating an enemy nuclear attack the ‘sole purpose’ of nuclear weapons. ‘While the document ranks China as the
    U.S.’s main long-term defense focus, it describes Russia as an ‘acute threat’ that must be deterred,’ according to FT. In its turn, the MDR says the U.S. will continue to rely on its nuclear
    arsenal to deter ‘large intercontinental-range nuclear missile threats’ by China and Russia rather
    than try the ‘missile defeat approach’ as it does with North Korea’s much smaller ICBM
    arsenal.”
    Link: https://www.juancole.com/2024/03/living-planetary-desperately.html

2.THE BIDEN DOCTRINE IN GAZA: BOMB, STARVE, DECEIVE
The White House unveils a new PR stunt for Gaza aid while hiding US arms transfers to Israel.
Aaron Mate (blog)
Mar. 8, 2024
Excerpt: (Ref. to the State of the Union Address of March 7, 2024)
“The US, Biden claimed, ‘has been leading international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza’ and believes that ‘protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.’ In
reality, the emergency project underscores Biden’s real priority: to prolong Israel’s rampage in
Gaza, the US is even willing to deploy its own military for face-saving public relations stunts.
“With criticism of Biden’s Gaza complicity increasing inside the Democratic Party, and threatening him at the ballot box, the pier is the latest in a series of token gestures aimed at feigning concern for Gazans while providing unfettered support to the Israeli government that is indiscriminately attacking them. The White House has carried out air drops over Gaza that amount to a few
trucks’ worth of aid – compared to the thousands of trucks that Israel is blocking with US support.”
Link: https://www.aaronmate.net/p/the-biden-doctrine-in-gaza-bomb-starve
State of the Climate
RECORD OCEAN TEMPERATURES PUSH CORAL REEFS TO BRINK OF FOURTH
MASS BLEACHING EVENT
Mar. 6, 2024 Earth.org
Excerpt:
“As the global sea surface temperature set a new record high on Monday at 21.17C following
months of above-average temperatures, scientists are raising the alarm about a potential fourth
mass coral bleaching event. Speaking with Reuters, the coordinator of the US National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch Derek Manzello said it was likely
that the entire Southern Hemisphere would experience bleaching this year.”
Link: https://earth.org/record-ocean-temperatures-push-coral-reefs-to-brink-of-fourth-massbleaching-event/
GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:
Phone Numbers:
Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023
Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Sen

Plowshare Action Alert #69

February 15, 2024

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From CODEPINK: Tell Congress to Vote “NO” to Funding Genocide!

For months we’ve witnessed Israel commit genocide in Gaza with full backing from the US government. The latest of their war-mongering activities? Trying to pass a $118 billion supplementary military funding bill through Congress that would give Israel $14.1 billion to continue its indefensible assault on Gaza. The Senate recently expanded the initial request from $106 billion, which comes at the heels of the US suspending its funding to UNRWA. Included in the $14.1 billion to Israel is $5.2 billion for missile defense systems. The rest of the bill would be used for more weapons and war globally, including further militarizing the US/Mexico border and operations in the Red Sea. $0 will go to protecting Gazans from Israeli missiles that have already murdered over 32,000 Palestinians. We can’t help but wonder, where is the love for humanity in Congress? How can they continue to fund such atrocities globally while 70% of Americans polled want a ceasefire? In the spirit of love for humankind, join us in demanding Congress say YES to restore funding to UNRWA and a ceasefire, and NO to more weapons and war:

Link:  https://www.codepink.org/congressvalentine

2. From the Center for Biodiversity: Ask the USFWS to reform the threatened species listing program

It takes 12 years on average to protect a species — but the Endangered Species Act says it should only take 2. More than 400 species are awaiting decisions now; hundreds more aren’t even being considered, and at least 47 kinds of animals and plants have gone extinct waiting for help. This broken system must be fixed. Take action to move the Fish & Wildlife Service to do its job and stop extinctions:

Link: https://act.biologicaldiversity.org/A026WDSr9EShfr5SvrXUWg2

3. From Demand Justice: Protect the Abortion Pill

In April 2023, in the worst federal abortion ruling since Roe was overturned, Trump appointee Matthew Kacsmaryk, District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas, revoked the FDA’s 23 year approval of mifepristone for the entire nation. The case has since been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. Now, the upcoming Supreme Court case will be the first time the conservative-majority Court will rule on abortion since it overturned Roe. It could not only radically change access to abortion care nationwide, but it could also drastically impact the FDA’s regulatory authority. If the Supreme Court overturns the FDA’s approval, it would impact patients across the country regardless of whether abortion remains legal in their state. Please sign the petition.

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-protect-the-abortion-pill

4. From the Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Support this legislation in the Virginia General Assembly

As many of you have experienced first-hand, flooding and sea level rise is a growing part of Virginians’ lives. But the Commonwealth’s resources to battle these threats are scattered across multiple government agencies. HB 1458—new legislation in the Virginia General Assembly—unifies the government’s climate change resources and adds oversight to flood protection funding. Take action now to support this critical piece of legislation! To access resources that proactively address flooding and sea level rise, local communities navigate a patchwork system of state offices and programs. At the same time, the two state funds supporting flood protection need greater transparency to ensure limited resources are maximizing their return on investment for the Commonwealth. Those were the recent findings of a group of 39 stakeholders, including representatives from nonprofit, academia, government, and industry organizations. HB 1458 addresses these concerns and is on the way to the Virginia Senate but needs your support to become law! At the core of the legislation is the centralization of climate resiliency efforts through the creation of the Office of Commonwealth Resilience.

Link:  https://p2a.co/EeSXPyx

5. From LeftNet: Urge Congress to call for a ceasefire in Gaza

Since the October 7, 2023 attacks by Hamas, the Israeli military has led an all-out siege on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of more than 28,000 Palestinians, with over 65,000 injured and many more missing. According to Oxfam, the daily death rate in Gaza is higher than any other major 21st-century conflict. The situation grows more dire with each day that passes, and groups like Doctors Without Borders and the World Food Program warn that a ceasefire is the only way to stop the famine and mass suffering. According to Data for Progress, a majority of voters — almost 80% of Democrats and 60% of all likely voters — support a ceasefire, but only 12% of Congress has joined the call. Please support the resolution for a permanent and immediate ceasefire in Gaza ASAP.

Link: https://act.leftnet.org/letter/tell-congress-support-ceasefire-now/

Backgrounders

The Genocide in Gaza

LET THEM EAT DIRT

The final stage of Israel’s genocide in Gaza, an orchestrated mass starvation, has begun. The international community does not intend to stop it.

By Chris Hedges, The Chris Hedges Report

February 8, 2024

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times.  

Excerpt:

“Israel has killed 152 UNRWA workers and damaged 147 UNRWA installations since the attacks inside Israel by Hamas and other resistance groups on Oct. 7 that killed some 1,200 Israelis. Israel has also bombed UNRWA relief trucks. 

“More than 27,708 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, some 67,000 have been wounded and at least 7,000 are missing, most likely dead and buried under the rubble.

“More than half a million Palestinians – one in four – are starving in Gaza, according to the U.N. Starvation will soon be ubiquitous. Palestinians in Gaza, 1.7 million of whom have been internally displaced, lack not only sufficient food, but clean water, shelter and medicine. ” …

Link: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/let-them-eat-dirt

About the effectiveness of mainstream media in manipulating public opinion

“In The War Of Propaganda, It Is Very Difficult To Defeat The United States”

The US empire has by far the most sophisticated and effective propaganda machine ever to have existed, operating with such complexity that most people don’t even know it exists.

By Caitlin Johnstone @caitlinjohnstone.com.au

February 11, 2024

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent journalist in Melbourne, Australia. Her political writings can be found on Medium and on her Facebook page, facebook.com/CaitlinAJohnstone.

Excerpt:

“In an article titled ‘Coverage of Gaza War in the New York Times and Other Major Newspapers Heavily Favored Israel, Analysis Shows,’ The Intercept reports that a review of 1,000 articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times about Israel’s war on Gaza found that the outlets consistently used word choices which served Israeli information interests. ‘Highly emotive terms for the killing of civilians like ‘slaughter,’ ‘massacre,’ and ‘horrific’ were reserved almost exclusively for Israelis who were killed by Palestinians, rather than the other way around,’ The Intercept’s Adam Johnson and Othman Ali report. ‘The term ‘slaughter’ was used by editors and reporters to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 60 to 1, and ‘massacre’ was used to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 125 to 2. ‘Horrific’ was used to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 36 to 4.’

“This is the sort of manipulation that a casual news consumer wouldn’t notice. Unless you’re on alert for bias and are keeping track of what words are and aren’t being used where, you’re probably not going to notice the absence of emotionally-charged words when reporting on Palestinians who are killed by Israelis.  …(L)ittle manipulations fly under the radar if you’re not on the lookout for them. Such is the brilliance of the US empire’s invisible propaganda machine. That’s why it’s very difficult to win a propaganda war against the United States, that’s why westerners have been so successfully manipulated into accepting a status quo of endless war, ecocide, injustice and exploitation, and that’s why the world looks the way it looks right now.”

Link: https://caitlinjohnstone.com.au/2024/02/11/in-the-war-of-propaganda-it-is-very-difficult-to-defeat-the-united-states/  

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative 

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

Plowshare Action Alert #68

January 25, 2024

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy

causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

1. From Just Foreign Policy:

Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Gaza War

The International Court of Justice began South Africa’s case against Israel’s military operation in Gaza

– offering evidence of Israeli soldiers in destroyed Palestinian homes and storefronts making statements

like: “There are no innocent civilians in Gaza!” These sentiments explain how 23,700 civilians have

already been killed by the IDF, over 10,000 of them children, using large-scale munitions and white

phosphorus, the latter made by Elbit who has a factory in Roanoke County. Tens of thousands of

buildings have been leveled – rates of destruction unseen since the firebombing of Dresden in WWII.

Over 96% of water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. Treating every person in a war zone as a

combatant is a violation of human rights law. That’s why Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resolution to force the

State Department to investigate is a moral priority. According to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor,

over 4% of the entire population of the Gaza Strip is either dead, injured, or missing – and the thousands

missing are likely dead. This is a level and pace of targeted death on a scale almost unseen in the 21st

century, and is worthy of international condemnation and response. But our State Department is refusing

to hold the Israeli military accountable. Every day that passes sees more lives lost, impacts will be felt

for generations to come. Join us in requesting a human rights investigation.

Link:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/investigate-human-rights-abuses-2

2

. From Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:

Sign this Petition for Peace

Stand with Ilhan in calling on the U.S. to use all of its peaceful, diplomatic might to promote peace

between Israel and Palestine. The U.S. and international leaders must secure an immediate ceasefire in

Gaza, release civilian hostages, halt weapons sales enabling war crimes, and allow impartial

investigations into reported atrocities. The time for peace is now:

Link 1:

https://act.ilhanomar.com/signup/ads-jan24-ceasefire-petition/

Link 2:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-now-to-president-biden-stop-the-ethnic-cleansing-of-

palestinians-dont-allow-israels-government-to-force-the-palestinian-people-out-of-their-historic-

homeland

3

. From Win Without War

:

Tell Biden to Cut the Pentagon Budget

The president is putting the final touches on next year’s budget now, and with global tensions on a

razor’s edge, “security” is certain to be a top priority. But for decades, the U.S. government has spent

more on weapons and war than any other country on earth — and it didn’t make anyone, anywhere, any

safer. It’s time to rethink this broken approach. This year, we could pour even more bombs and bullets

into a world where violence is increasing by the second — unless activists speak up to demand

something different. This moment marks the start of a legislative marathon to press the White House and

Congress to reject the misguided notion that BILLIONS for weapons and war are the only way to keep

us safe. The President’s budget proposal is due in the next weeks. Now is the time to influence

policymakers in the White House and make a real impact, the time. Budgets are moral documents that

reflect our values and priorities. Call on Biden to invest in human needs and cut the Pentagon budget.

Link:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/biden-cut-pentagon-budget2

4

. From REI Co-op:

Take Action to Tell Congress to Pass the Explore Act

The bipartisan Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act is the largest

outdoor recreation package since 1963. It tackles today’s challenges by improving park infrastructure,

supporting gateway communities, offsetting pressures on popular destinations, and increasing access to

the outdoors for veterans, seniors, and youth. There’s a lot to love in this bill, thanks in no small part to

the outdoor lovers and organizations who helped shape it, and real-world feedback from National Park

Service staff and other land managers who identified needed improvements to our public lands. We are

especially excited that it will: fund local parks in underserved communities; support veterans, seniors,

and youth in accessing our public lands; improve

mountain biking on select public lands and identify

new locations for long-distance bike trails; and address overcrowding in popular parks. REI Co-op

worked alongside the National Recreation and Park Association, PeopleforBikes, Outdoor Alliance,

Access Fund, International Mountain Biking Association, Trust for Public Land, Outdoors Alliance for

Kids and many others in shaping this comprehensive legislation. Please join us in the effort to get it

passed.

Link:

https://www.rei.com/action/network/campaign/americas-outdoor-recreation

5. From Environment Virginia:

Tell US Forest Service to Protect Old Growth Forests

A majority of old-growth forests have already been logged, with precious few groves of old-growth trees

left standing. We need to protect them before logging kills our oldest trees. Twenty logging projects are

targeting mature and old-growth forests around the country, and that’s just the beginning. Without more

protection, the logging industry won’t stop cutting these trees. Walking through groves of trees whose

tops are too tall to see is an unparalleled experience. Trees of ancient age are sacred – some have been

growing for centuries. When our forests fall, we lose entire ecosystems of plants and creatures that

depend on them. Don’t let trees come crashing down around wildlife.

Link:

https://environmentamerica.org/virginia/take-action/tell-the-u-s-forest-service-to-protect-old-

growth-forests-from-logging/

Backgrounders

The U.S. Attacks on the Ansarallah (Houthis) over Gaza

THE HOUTHIS MAY HAVE CHECKMATED BIDEN IN RED SEA STANDOFF

The hardened Yemeni rebel force can’t be deterred without risky and costly U.S. escalations.

By Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept

January 19, 202

Murtaza Hussain is a reporter at The Intercept who focuses on national security and foreign

policy.

He has appeared on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, and other news outlets.

Excerpt:

“At the center of the unrest in the Red Sea is the crisis in Gaza, which has been devastated by

Israeli attacks since the October 7 offensive by Hamas. Though Israeli troops are carrying out the

war that has killed more than 24,000 Palestinians, the U.S. is the patron and enabler. The Biden

administration continues to offer unblinking financial and diplomatic support to Israel, despite

mounting accusations against the U.S. of complicity in genocide. …

“The Houthis have long been a polarizing force in Yemeni politics, but they have seized on anti-

American sentiment in the Arab world and the seeming indifference of pro-U.S. regimes to the

suffering in Gaza to elevate their geopolitical status. Not only are the Houthis distinguishing

themselves as champions of the Palestinian cause, but they are also rehabilitating their reputation

at home, where they have struggled to set up a functional government amid civil war. Houthi

spokespeople have become fixtures on Arabic-language television stations, where they relish

their role challenging the West over the plight of the Palestinians.

“The U.S. should consider that these actions in Gaza are enraging people throughout the region,”

said Al-Omeisy. ‘The local perception is that when Palestinian blood was being shed the last

three months, no one was bothered, but when the economic interests of the West were

threatened, they immediately acted. This message fits right into Houthi rhetoric and is resonating

very strongly in the region.’”

Link:

Biden’s Foreign Policy Team Responsible for the Middle East

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF GAZA’S APOCALYPSE

Joe Biden relies on advisors who view the world through the prism of the West’s civilizing

mission to the “lesser breeds” of the earth to formulate his policies towards Israel and the Middle

East.

By Chris Hedges

Jan 21, 2024

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and journalist who was a foreign correspondent

for fifteen years for The New York Times.

Excerpt:

“Biden has always been an ardent militarist — he was calling for war with Iraq five years before

the U.S. invaded. He built his political career by catering to the distaste of the white middle class

for the popular movements, including the anti-war and civil rights movements, that convulsed

the country in the 1960s and 1970s. He is a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. He joined

Southern segregationists to oppose bringing Black students into Whites-only schools. He

opposed federal funding for abortions and supported a constitutional amendment allowing states

to restrict abortions. He attacked President George H. W. Bush in 1989 for being too soft in the

“war on drugs.” He was one of the architects of the 1994 crime bill and a raft of other draconian

laws that more than doubled the U.S. prison population, militarized the police and pushed

through drug laws that saw people incarcerated for life without parole. He supported the North

American Free Trade Agreement, the greatest betrayal of the working class since the 1947 Taft-

Hartley Act. He has always been a strident defender of Israel, bragging that he did more

fundraisers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) than any other Senator.

“‘As many of you heard me say before, were there no Israel, America would have to invent one.

We’d have to invent one because… you protect our interests like we protect yours,’ Biden said in

2015, to an audience that included the Israeli ambassador, at the 67th Annual Israeli

Independence Day Celebration in Washington D.C. During the same speech he said, ‘The truth

of the matter is we need you. The world needs you. Imagine what it would say about humanity

and the future of the 21st century if Israel were not sustained, vibrant and free. …’

“As a seven-term senator of Delaware, Biden received more financial support from pro-Israel

donors than any other senator, since 1990. Biden retains this record despite the fact that his

senatorial career ended in 2009, when he became Obama’s vice president. Biden explains his

commitment to Israel as ‘personal’ and ‘political.’

“He has parroted back Israeli propaganda — including fabrications about beheaded babies and

widespread rape of Israeli women by Hamas fighters — and asked Congress to provide $14

billion in additional aid to Israel since the Oct. 7 attack. He has twice bypassed Congress to

supply Israel with thousands of bombs and munitions, including at least 100 2,000-pound bombs,

used in the scorched earth campaign in Gaza. …

“‘All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs,

it’s all from the U.S.,’ retired Israeli Major General Yitzhak Brick told the Jewish News

Syndicate. “The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability…

Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.’”

Link:

https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-four-horsemen-of-gazas-apocalypse

A Palestinian Perspective on the Israel-Gaza War

I could have been one of those who broke through the siege on October 7

By Salman Abu Sitta, Mondoweiss

January 4, 2024

Excerpt:

“Nothing can hide the determination and courage of those young people who returned to their

land on October 7. I could have been one of them had I been much younger and still living in the

concentration camp called Gaza.”

Link:

https://mondoweiss.net/2024/01/i-could-have-been-one-of-those-who-broke-through-the-

siege-on-october-7/

The Unz Review: •

An Alternative Media Selection

“A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from

the American Mainstream Media”

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: Ron Unz

National Security Editor: Philip Giraldi

Overview:

Alternative media outlets of the Left and Right have become a crucial supplement to our

knowledge of the world, providing those perspectives usually ignored by our mainstream media.

This small webzine will aim to provide convenient access to at least a fraction of those voices

and topics. Includes

Downloadable eBooks – Published Print Books – Foreign Policy, – Israel/Russia/China

Articles, World War II Articles, Race/Ethnicity Articles – Conspiracy Theories –

Interviews & Podcasts – Major Translations, Culture/Society – Ideology – History –

Forums, – Bloggers – Columnists – News Links

Link:

https://www.unz.com/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024

Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators

Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111

https://whitehouse.gov/contact

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly:

https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #67

January 6, 2024

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are

worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

1. From Rashida Tlaib:

Sign to demand President Biden call for a permanent ceasefire,

protect human rights, and stop sending U.S. bombs for war crimes

UNICEF called Gaza “the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.”

UNICEF’s Executive Director said: “Access to sufficient amounts of clean water is a matter of

life and death, and children in Gaza have barely a drop to drink.” She blamed “the constant

bombing, along with the restrictions on materials and fuel allowed into the territory.”

In just a month and a half, Israel’s military dropped more than 22,000 U.S.-provided bombs on

Gaza. Bombing continues to intensify, and President Biden recently bypassed Congress to send

$100 million in more weapons and bombs.‘It doesn’t get any worse,’ said the World Food

Program’s chief economist, who noted: ‘I have never seen something at the scale that is

happening in Gaza and at this speed.’ Human Rights Watch accused Israel’s government of

using starvation as a weapon of war. Hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza are suffering

from diseases related to malnutrition, lack of clean water, and displacement. They can’t get

healthcare or medical supplies because of the bombing and the blockade. 80% of Democratic

voters favor a ceasefire. We’re done watching our government support cutting off food, water,

electricity, and medical care to millions of people with nowhere to go. Instead of working for a

ceasefire, President Biden has vetoed and watered down UN Security Council resolutions for a

ceasefire and humanitarian aid. And he’s still trying to send $14 billion of our tax dollars to

Israel’s military, without any conditions on upholding human rights. Please sign to demand

President Biden call for a permanent ceasefire, protect human rights, and stop sending U.S.

bombs and weapons for war crimes.

Link:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-to-demand-president-biden-call-for-a-permanent-

ceasefire-protect-human-rights-and-stop-sending-us-bombs-for-war-crimes/

2

. From Demand Justice and Multiple Organizations:

Sign the petition to Supreme Court

Justice Clarence Thomas: Recuse yourself

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6th

insurrection makes him ineligible to run for president. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution,

written after the Civil War to prevent ex-Confederates from holding public office, applies here.

While the decision is both historic and consequential, the ruling is solid on both the facts and the

law. But the case will now go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it may get overturned. Justice

Clarence Thomas has no business hearing this case, and should recuse himself. His wife Ginni

was actively involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

After Biden won both Arizona and Wisconsin, Ginni Thomas pressured legislators in both states

to appoint a rival slate of electors to award these states to Trump. She also regularly contacted

Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows in a series of text messages after the 2020 election and

before January 6, urging him to ‘help this Great President stand firm.’ Judges must recuse

themselves from cases where their impartiality may be called into question. This is especially

important at the U.S. Supreme Court, which will likely have the final say on this matter. Given

the nature of this case, Ginni Thomas’ overt advocacy that led to the January 6th insurrection

makes it clear that her husband cannot rule on Donald Trump’s eligibility:

Link:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-clarence-thomas-must-recuse-himself-in-

colorado-trump-case

3

. From The People United

:

Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a dangerous violation of the sovereignty of the Oceti Sakowin and

Standing Rock Sioux. Three years after a federal judge revoked the permit allowing for the

pipeline to cross the Missouri River and ordered an environmental review, the oil still flows as it

has since the pipeline began operating in 2017. Now, with the release of the new — and deeply

flawed — Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which was written by a member of the

American Petroleum Institute in a clear conflict of interest, the Army Corps of Engineers has

finally opened a process for public comment. Every day the pipeline is in operation risks a

disastrous toxic oil spill poisoning the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Sioux’s main water

source. The impact is not limited to the Standing Rock Sioux, as the Missouri River provides

water to millions more people downstream. Yet construction of the pipeline was exempted from

the requirements of the Clean Water Act. A fully operational pipeline is projected to bring

570,000 more barrels of oil to market, resulting in the release of over 100 million metric tons of

CO2 — a greenhouse gas responsible for accelerating climate change — each year. This is equal

to the emissions of nearly 30 coal plants, or over 21 million cars, annually. Further, hydraulic

fracking of the North Dakota oil fields has been responsible for a dangerous increase in

atmospheric ethane, another greenhouse gas. We cannot choose to increase our dependence on

extracted oil, rather than developing renewable resources. Please sign our petition:

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline/

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline
4.

. From World Beyond War:

Take Action Online Now

Sign and share these petitions and online action pages:

Link:

https://worldbeyondwar.org/online/

5. From Civic Shout:

Protect and Secure the Safety of Journalists in Gaza

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports 63 journalists have been killed in Gaza from

October 7 – December 17. The toll, just like the number of civilian deaths overall, is certain to

have ticked up further in the days since. The Israeli military has a deeply troubling history of

targeting journalists, from the bombing of a building housing Al Jazeera and Associated Press

offices in 2021 to the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West

Bank last year to a missile attack in southern Lebanon that killed Issam Abdallah, a cameraman

working for Reuters, earlier this month. No one has ever been charged or held to account.

Journalists are a crucial voice in moments of crisis. We need verifiable information now more

than ever — and that won’t happen if people in power fail to ensure the safety of the press,

particularly in combat areas. Unfortunately, the White House hasn’t done enough in the face of

this rising death toll, but activists like you can change that. While the U.S. government continues

to provide critical financial and military support to Israel, President Biden has incredible

s incredible influence. Tell President Biden
to pressure the Israeli government to protect and secure the safety of journalists in Gaza and other conflict zones:
Link: https://civicshout.com/p/protect-and-secure-the-safety-of-journalists-in-gaza

Backgrounder
The Israeli-U.S. War Against Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza
The Fatal Post World War II Contradiction
By Lawrence Davidson in Consortium News
December 5, 2023
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since
2010.
Excerpt:
“In the post-1948 era, Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonialism became seen in the
West as terrorism. And sometimes it was. But keep in mind, as a general principle, it is
the tactics of the oppressor that creates the context for the tactics of the oppressed. The
disproportionate acts of revenge carried out by Israel in response to early cross-border
incursions of the Palestinians, together with Israel’s massive advantage in weaponry
which made impossible a classic guerrilla war, led to the acts of terrorism used at certain
periods of Palestinian resistance. Nonetheless, what most Palestinians have always desired, besides a state of their own, is racial-ethnic equality, and religious freedom under
the rule of law — the same things post World War II treaties and declarations stood for.
Thus, symbolically at least, the Palestinian struggle stands for that better world that so
many — including the Jews — said they wanted at the end of World War Two. The Israelis, through their exclusion and persecution of the Palestinians, have taken a definitive
stand against such a better future. Indeed, there is now an ongoing effort — an ongoing
Zionist project, to move the world backward so that past colonist/racist practices are once
more acceptable. …
“Israel’s mass destruction in Gaza is one of the worst criminal acts committed by a state
since World War II. For those illogical enough to think it is anti-Semitic to point out such
enormous Zionist sins, I would point to the growing number of Jews in the Diaspora who
condemn Israel’s actions. I take my stand with them. Israel is not representative of all
Jews. And Israel’s goals and leadership arguably represents a betrayal of the best of Jewish values. In this strange convoluted way, the real enemy of the Jews are the Zionists.
Let’s end by taking a quick look at a list of 74 countries adhering to the U.N. charter.
ayThis is the so-called Multilateralism index and it ranks how these countries adhere to
the United Nations’ Charter and its goals. Guess who is at the very bottom? You got it,
the United States of America. Guess who is second to last? Right again. It is Israel.”
Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/12/05/the-fatal-post-world-war-ii-contradiction/
Regarding Genocide in Gaza
Murder
By Craig Murray, Consortium News
December 15, 2023
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of
Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
Excerpt:
“It is worth stating why this is plainly a genocide in Gaza:
1) Deliberate destruction of the infrastructure which supports the civilian population, including water treatment, electricity, sewerage systems, bakeries and fishing boats;
2) Deliberate destruction of almost all medical facilities;
3) Deliberate destruction of educational facilities, from universities to primary schools;
4) Deliberate destruction of the infrastructure of civil society, including Supreme Court,
Parliament, Ministries and Council buildings and deliberate destruction of administrative
records;
5) Deliberate blocking of food aid inducing mass starvation;
6) Massive and indiscriminate bombardment. In wars the general percentage of children
among those killed varies from 6 to 8 percent. In Ukraine it is 6 percent. In Gaza it is 42
percent. This is indiscriminate destruction of an ethnic group;
7) Mass executions of civilians;
8) Acts of dehumanisation of the Palestinians, including parading prisoners naked for
public and media show and humiliation, beating and sexually abusing them;
9) Forced mass movement of population;
10) Deliberate targeting of religious and cultural heritage buildings;
11) Deliberate targeting of intellectual leadership, including journalists, doctors, poets,
university lecturers and senior administrators;
12) Numerous declarations of open genocidal intent from the President and Prime Minister down through almost the entire fabric of both civilian and military establishment.”
Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/12/15/craig-murray-murder/
The legitimization of evil will remain with Israelis long after the war in Gaza ends
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz
December 31, 2023
Excerpt:
“One can hardly think of even one advantage Israel might reap from this war, even if we
ignore its horrors and the indescribable suffering on the other side and focus only on
‘what is good for Israel,’ as Israelis like to frame it. It’s very bad for Israel. The future of
the hostages is becoming increasingly murkier, and Israel’s security is growing shakier.
The facts are glaring. Hamas is growing stronger. The more it is hit in Gaza, the more its
political strength grows among Palestinians, at least outside the Gaza Strip. The longer
the war goes on, the worse Israel’s international standing becomes. It’s already reached
an unprecedented nadir, not yet among governments, but certainly in world public opinion.
“Israel has become a pariah state more than ever before. Reports from Gaza present a
barbaric reality. The world sees it and feels loathing. How could it not? Polls of young
people in the United States, including young Jews, should horrify Israel. Hamas is more
popular among them than Israel is.”
Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board.
Levy joined Haaretz in 1982, and became the newspaper’s deputy editor. He was the recipient of the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the
Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel
Award for 1996. His new book is The Punishment of Gaza (Verso).
Link: https://johnmenadue.com/the-legitimization-of-evil-will-remain-with-israelis-longafter-the-war-in-gaza-ends/
GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:
Phone Numbers:
Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023
Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative
CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111 https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE-JOINS BDS MOVEMENT

Dear friends,

On Tuesday evening, the Plowshare Peace Center board decided that Plowshare will join the BDS (Boycott-Divest-Sanction) movement in its campaign about Israel. The BDS movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressures Israel to comply with international law. More information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott,_Divestment_and_Sanctions.

Plowshare will be exploring other ways we can work on BDS. To begin with:

Plowshare will explore affiliating with the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The USCPR is a national organization of over 300 groups working on BDS as well as many individuals. Their website is at https://uscpr.org/.

Plowshare will share information about ways the Plowshare community can support the BDS movement. Here is a website that provides a list of companies to boycott: https://bdsmovement.net/Act-Now-Against-These-Companies-Profiting-From-Genocide.

The Plowshare board feels the Boycott-Divest-Sanction actions are in the tradition of non-violent tactics. We encourage you to join us.

Please like this post.

Gary Sandman
Plowshare Peace Center Director

540-492-3582
plowshare@plowshareva.org
Facebook page at Plowshare Peace & Justice Center
Facebook group at Plowshare Peace Center
Mail: PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015
Website: https://plowshareva.org/

Plowshare Action Alert #66

December 8, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From multiple international organizations: End the U.S. blockade of Cuba

The US blockade of Cuba began in 1962 and in its waning days, the Trump administration added numerous additional sanctions and declared a state sponsor of terrorism, putting the island nation in the company of North Korea and Syria. We believe that international pressure can put an end to these measures. Further, we agree with the 185 countries at the United Nations General Assembly who rejected the US blockade against Cuba in 2022 as well as in the previous 30 years. We therefore make a global call those in defense of human rights and equality among all people, to join our campaign and sign the petition.

Link: https://letcubalive.info/about

2. From Code Pink: Ask President Biden to release Venezuela’s frozen funds

It has been a year since the Venezuelan government and the U.S. signed a vital agreement for the ‘protection of the Venezuelan people.’ The U.S. promised to release the overseas funds frozen by sanctions and so they could be used to finance programs in health, education, food security, and electricity. This would be administered by the UN. But guess what? The U.S has not yet released the funds. The Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan opposition reached a humanitarian agreement using Venezuela’s own funds and the U.S, one year later, still has those funds pirated? Nothing “humanitarian” about that! Join us in asking President Biden to release the frozen funds for humanitarian programs to help the Venezuelan people.:

Link: https://www.codepink.org/unfreeze_vz_funds

3. From Roots Action Network and from Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA): Ask President Biden to call for a ceasefire and for your Congress member to cosponsor the Ceasefire NOW Resolution

Between October 7 and December 3, armed violence has claimed the lives of over 1,300 Israelis, and 16,000 Palestinians in Gaza, and wounded or sickened tens of thousands, and made homeless hundreds of thousands of Gazans. In addition 9 Israelis have died as Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed another 248 Palestinians in the West Bank. The Resolution:

Whereas all human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law; Whereas, armed violence has claimed the lives of Palestinians and Israelis and wounded tens of thousands more; Whereas hundreds of thousands of lives are at imminent risk if a cease-fire is not achieved and humanitarian aid is not delivered without delay; and Whereas the Federal Government holds immense diplomatic power to save Israeli and Palestinian lives: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives (1) urges the Biden administration to immediately call for and facilitate deescalation and a cease-fire to urgently end the current violence; and (2) calls upon the Biden administration to promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

The second link is from MECA to ask your three representatives in Congress to co-sponsor the Ceasefire Now Resolution now supported by only 40 of the 535 of them.

Link: https://rootsaction.org/cosponsor-ceasefire-resolution

Link (MECA): http://bit.ly/StopGazaGenocide

Please, FIND AND JOIN A PROTEST, like Plowshare’s monthly Silent Peace Vigil on the 3rd Saturday of every month, at the Market Building, at noon. The people of Gaza have a number one request: KEEP UP THE PRESSURE & CALL FOR A CEASEFIRE NOW. Use your power and influence to hold our U.S. government accountable

Backgrounder

Update on the U.S.-Israel-Hamas War

Israel-Palestine war: How Israel uses AI genocide program to obliterate Gaza

By Jonathan Cook

December 5, 2023

Jonathan Cook is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at www.jonathan-cook.net

Excerpt:

“(Israel) has focused on what it calls ‘power targets’ – or more accurately, symbolic targets – such as high-rise buildings and residential towers in urban areas, as well as public buildings such as universities, banks, government offices, hospitals and mosques.

“These attacks, say the sources, are seen as a ‘means that allows damage to civil society’, weakening the ability of the society to organize and function, and families to subsist. According to 972 (a news and opinion webzine), the former Israeli officials it spoke to ‘understood, some explicitly and some implicitly, that damage to civilians is the real purpose of these attacks’. …

“Referring to the high death toll among civilians, another source stated: ‘Everything is intentional. We know exactly how much collateral damage there is in every home.’

“Five different sources told 972 that Israel had compiled files on tens of thousands of private homes and apartments in Gaza where low-level Hamas members live. The homes, as well as everyone who lives in them, were viewed as a legitimate target as soon as a Hamas-linked person entered the building.

“One former intelligence officer explained that the Habsora system enables the army to run a “mass assassination factory,” in which the ‘emphasis is on quantity and not on quality.’ A human eye ‘will go over the targets before each attack, but it need not spend a lot of time on them.’ Since Israel estimates that there are approximately 30,000 Hamas members in Gaza, and they are all marked for death, the number of potential targets is enormous.”

Read more. Link: https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-war-genocide-programme-ai-obliterate-gaza

Notable Quote

“The unexamined premise behind the frenetic push to reignite outrage over October 7 using rape allegations is that if Hamas fighters did sexually assault any Israeli women during the attack, then everyone has to shut up and let Israel keep murdering children by the thousands. This is self-evidently stupid. Western and Israeli propagandists are going to keep trying to find new reasons for you to reignite your outrage over October 7, because October 7 is their side’s only justification for a months-long mass atrocity that is far, far worse than anything that happened on October 7.”

– Caitlin Johnstone, in There’s Nothing You Can Say to Make Me Accept the Murder of Thousands of Children, Dec. 6, 2023 (https://caitlinjohnstone.com.au/2023/12/06/theres-nothing-you-can-say-to-make-me-accept-the-murder-of-thousands-of-children/ )

Update on the Climate Crisis as COP28

An Intimate Conversation with Leading Climate Scientists to Discuss Groundbreaking New Research on Global Warming

The event was moderated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs

November 2, 2023

Note: James Hansen begins the series of presentations with his paper on the global warming in Earth’s pipeline. “Earth’s mean temperature will be at or above 1.5ºC for the balance of this decade and reach 2.0ºC in the early 2030s. (It is the foundation to his conversation with Paul Beckwith which I posted yesterday.) He sees the options that are plausible as being ignored and expects the consequences of climate destabilization will be severe enough in the coming year that political posturing denying the problem will be exposed as false.

The event was moderated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs and features interventions by the following individuals:

 Dr. James Hansen, Lead Author and Director, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions, Columbia University Earth Institute

 Leon Simons, The Club of Rome Netherlands, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

 Dr. Norman G. Loeb, CERES Principal Investigator, NASA

Dr. George Tselioudis, Author and Research Physical Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

 Dr. Pushker Kharecha, Author and Associate Research Scientist, Director, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions, Columbia Climate School

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXDWpBlPCY8

The season of Advent is traditionally a period of spiritual waiting for the birth of Jesus. As each passing year brings more climate disasters in its wake, Christians are becoming increasingly aware that they are also waiting for the promised redemption of creation itself. An organization in the UK, Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS), created the Climate Cathedral exhibit to bring together voices from science and theology, action and reflection, that may yet bring about such a change. A global challenge needs a global perspective in which many voices and views engage with one another in a constructive way, seeking a response that is both informed scientifically and rooted spiritually in a vision of God’s love for all creation. Check it out.

Link: https://www.eclasproject.org/climate-cathedral/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

PLOWSHARE-TEMPLATE LETTER FOR CEASEFIRE IN GAZA-ISRAEL WAR

Dear friends,

Below is the template of a letter regarding a ceasefire in the Gaza-Israel War.  Plowshare Peace Center encourages you to contact your officeholders below.  Send an email and call them.  As well, email your local newspaper.  The need is NOW.

Gary Sandman

Plowshare Director

540-492-3582

plowshare@plowshareva.org

www.plowshareva.org

Facebook page at Plowshare Peace & Justice Center

Facebook group at Plowshare Peace Center

Mail: Plowshare, PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

************

To the Editor,

As a concerned Virginian, I am appealing to [name of your legislator] to press for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine. Those who purport to represent us should contact the Biden administration to demand that the U.S. stop blocking ceasefire proposals and stop sending more weapons and funding for them to Israel, weapons that will end up killing innocent Palestinian men, women and children. Right now, Biden is the big obstacle. I urge other (Virginians, Roanokers, etc.) to do the same! Our legislators need to know that we constituents watch them. This genocide will only create more terrorist violence in the future. An immediate ceasefire is desperately needed, to save children’s lives.

(Name)

(Contact information)

************

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Senator Kaine-(202) 224-4024, https://www.kaine.senate.gov/contact/share-your-opinion


Senator Warner-(202) 224-2023, https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

Representative Cline-(202) 225-5431, https://cline.house.gov/contact/

Representative Griffith-202-225-3861, https://morgangriffith.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm White House: 202-456-1111, https://whitehouse.gov/contact

Plowshare Action Alert #64

November 21, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From the Native Organizers Action Fund:

#NoDAPL — Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Now!

The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock continues. Each day the pipeline continues to operate, it violates Indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights and poses a threat to water sources for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rejects the recently released draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because it does not adequately consider the risks the pipeline poses to the Tribe’s water and cultural resources, in violation of the principles of the National Environmental Policy Act. Submit your comment to the Army Corps of Engineers to support the Tribe in demanding a new, unbiased Environmental Impact Statement that assesses the environmental impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The deadline for comments is November 13th!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline/

2. From Avaaz: Tell Biden and the media across the world: Ceasefire Now — Stop this War!

Over 11,000 people are dead in Palestine and Israel. A child in Gaza is being killed every 10 minutes. This is absolute madness and it is getting worse. As Israel’s closest ally, the American president holds the key to a ceasefire that would prevent thousands more from dying — sign this urgent call for peace and we’ll deliver it to him: “Dear President Biden and global leaders, How many more children must die before you support the global call for a ceasefire? How many are enough? As people from across the world, we call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade in Gaza. Stop raining death on innocent people.”

Link: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/call_for_sanity_loc/

3. From Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières):

Sign pledge to recognize the climate crisis is a public health crisis

Doctors Without Borders is responding to a growing number of complex emergencies across the globe, many of them made worse by climate change and extreme weather. After years of witnessing how climate change has likely exacerbated health and humanitarian crises in multiple contexts where we work, we are compelled to speak out about what we see. These unprecedented weather patterns have helped create conditions for the spread of illnesses like malaria, dengue fever, and cholera as well as rising rates of malnutrition due to crops damaged or destroyed by cycles of flooding and drought. When extreme weather events strike, our teams are also among the first responders–bringing emergency supplies, psychosocial support, and much-needed medical care. Doctors Without Borders is racing to respond to emergencies like these in countries from Haiti, to Nigeria, to Pakistan and many more. The climate crisis is a health and humanitarian crisis: sign if you agree!

Link: https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/secure/sign-our-pledge-to-recognize-the-climate-crisis

4. From Faithful America:

Christians oppose racism, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim hatred

Many hearts are breaking over the violence in the Holy Land. Far too many innocent people in both Gaza and Israel have been killed as a result of the terrorist attack by Hamas and the subsequent military response by the Israeli government. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we’re praying for a quick, just resolution that will allow all families in the region to live without fear of violence, hunger, or displacement. Sadly, the war in the Middle East is also having a painful impact on the lives of Jewish, Muslim, and Arab Americans as well. Incidents of identity-based hatred, including racism, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry, have increased dramatically over the past three weeks. From the stabbing death of a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy near Chicago and multiple attacks on women wearing hijabs, to bomb threats at synagogues and the beating death of an elderly Jewish man at a Los Angeles protest, already historically high discrimination rates have jumped, causing even more Americans to live in fear. No one should be subjected to violence because of who they are, where they’re from, or who they worship. Let’s speak out together as Christians and make it clear that identity-based hatred is never acceptable, and that we support our Arab-American, Muslim, and Jewish neighbors. Add your name: Christians reject antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and racism:

Link: https://act.faithfulamerica.org/sign/identity-based-hatred/

5. From Friends of the Earth:

Stop fossil fuel companies from drilling on public lands and pumping greenhouse gas emissions into the air!

The Department of Interior is about to lease more than 2,000 acres of our public lands to the fossil fuel company willing to put up the most cash. People, our wild places, and the climate are all at risk.

Nearly a QUARTER of all U.S. emissions comes from fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Precious American landscapes are being razed to mine coal, drill for oil, and frack for gas. What do you gain from this? Scarred public lands, an increasingly heated planet, and fossil fuel companies’ hands. 

Tell the Department of Interior: don’t lease our precious public lands to greedy fossil fuel companies!:

Link: https://action.foe.org/page/59406/action/1

6. From Demand Justice: Ban Assault Weapons

Assault weapons have no place in our neighborhoods. Congress needs to take action and ban assault weapons. Assault weapons are disproportionately used in crimes involving multiple victims and police officers. With easy access to military-style semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, too many individuals have filled our schools, malls, concerts, movie theaters, places of worship, stores, highways, parades, and other public spaces with terror, devastation, and terrible loss. Banning assault weapons saves lives. The 1994 federal assault weapons ban reduced the risk of a person in the U.S. dying from a mass shooting by 70%. Both the number of deaths and the number of annual incidents decreased significantly. Congress failed to extend the assault weapons ban beyond 2004. Recent polls show that a majority of voters support banning assault weapons. Even politicians once opposed to such measures are changing their stance. Maine Congressman Jared Golden recently dropped his opposition to an assault weapons ban, apologizing to his community for his lack of action on this issue. As the number of mass shootings rises, leaders should be held accountable for inaction. Americans deserve a strong response from the federal government. Sign the petition: Ban assault weapons!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-ban-assault-weapons-11

7. From Code Pink: Tell the International Criminal Court to Investigate Israel

Help the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Court. The ICC prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan sent an appeal to non-governmental organizations to compile evidence of the state of Israel’s violations of international law into a letter along with a demand to investigate the modern-day nation-state of Israel and its officials. CodePink has prepared a letter one can use to help the prosecutor or you can do your own. To write your letter to the ICC, use the link for instructions.

Link: https://www.codepink.org/iccgaza

Backgrounder

The War in Gaza

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! interviews Omer Bartov

Nov. 10, 2023

Israeli American scholar Omer Bartov, one of the world’s leading experts on the Holocaust, says Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip is at risk of becoming a genocide. The monthlong air and ground war has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians in the besieged enclave, a majority of them women and children. Israel has also severely limited the movement of food, water, fuel, medicine and other essentials into Gaza. Bartov says the disproportionate killing of civilians by Israel, as well as dehumanizing statements by Israeli leaders and potential mass expulsion, are of grave concern. He recently joined hundreds of lawyers and academics in signing an open letter warning of Israel’s violations of international law in Gaza. “There is an indication that there are war crimes happening in Gaza, potentially also crimes against humanity,” says Bartov. “If this so-called operation continues, that may become ethnic cleansing … and that may become genocide.”

Omer Bartov is the Samuel Pisar Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Brown University. Born in Israel and educated at Tel Aviv University and St. Antony’s College, Oxford, Bartov’s early research concerned the Nazi era in World War II, analyzed in his books, The Eastern Front, 1941-1945 (1985), and Hitler’s Army (1991). He turned to the links between war and genocide in his books Murder in Our Midst (1996), Mirrors of Destruction (2000), and Germany’s War and the Holocaust (2003). His new book, Genocide, The Holocaust and Israel-Palestine: First-Person History in Times of Crisis, has just come out.

Watch here. Link: https://www.democracynow.org/2023/11/10/bartov_genocide_apartheid

Fifteen Things You Should Never Have To Say To A Country

By Caitlin Johnstone

November 18, 2023

1. Stop bombing children. 2. Don’t kill journalists. 3. Don’t bomb hospitals. 4. Don’t shoot patients through their hospital window. 5. Don’t drive bulldozers over dead bodies, etc. …

Caitlin Johnstone is a reader-funded journalist, essayist, painter and poet, New Zealand born, now based in Melbourne, Australia. She writes with her American husband, Tim Foley and has published her writing in many outlets. She writes about politics, economics, media, feminism and the nature of consciousness.

Link: https://caitlinjohnstone.com.au/2023/11/18/fifteen-things-you-should-never-have-to-say-to-a-country/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #63

October 25, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are

worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

Petitions

1. From REI:

Petition to protect more public lands

Every 30 seconds, America loses a football field’s worth of natural spaces to development and

other pressures. What’s more, today we face the dual challenges of more extreme weather events

and more than 100 million people in America who lack access to green spaces. Now is the time

to double down on efforts to protect America’s most precious places.

Across the country, Tribal

Nations and other communities who have too often been left out of decisions about our public

lands are calling for the protection of places sacred to them. REI, in concert with hundreds of

organizations and outdoor brands, is joining these leaders in calling for national monument

designations that will ensure the future of spectacular cultural sites and critical habitats—for

ourselves and for the future outdoor enthusiasts who will follow in our footsteps.

Protecting

these places as national monuments is also a key solution for ensuring that more of us can access

world-class recreation opportunities and sustain rural outdoor recreation economies

nationwide.

Our nation’s natural beauty can’t wait. Urge President Biden to protect America’s

most precious places today.

Link:

https://www.rei.com/action/network/campaign/monuments

2

. From Environment Virginia:

Urge Walmart to commit to phasing out single-use packaging

Walmart is America’s largest grocer by revenue — but far too many shoppers are coming home

with a pile of single-use plastic packaging that they didn’t ask for. Too often, this plastic

packaging ends up as waste, clogging landfills and polluting the environment. Nothing we use

for a few minutes should pollute our environment and threaten wildlife for hundreds of years.

Walmart can help spare birds, fish, and other wildlife from the harm caused by plastic by

changing its packaging practices. In eliminating single-use plastic packaging, Walmart can

become a leader in the industry and set a positive precedent for other superstores to follow.

Link:

https://environmentamerica.org/virginia/take-action/urge-walmart-to-put-wildlife-over-

waste/

3

. From Jewish Voices for Peace

:

Call for an Immediate Ceasefire Petition

We mourn for the Palestinian and Israeli civilians killed, and we continue to fight with

everything we have for the living.

There is no justification in international law for the targeting

of civilians or the holding of civilian hostages. That was true when Hamas attacked Israeli

civilians. We must apply that same standard to the Israeli military, as it subjects a captive

population in Gaza to a massive aerial bombardment: targeting hospitals, using white

phosphorus, and forcing 1.1 million people to flee south, while bombing both the designated

evacuation routes and the southern Gaza strip.

The Israeli government is threatening to commit

genocide against Palestinians and denying their humanity. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

asserted: “What we will do to our enemies will reverberate for generations.” The Israeli minister

of defense called Palestinians “human animals” announced that the 16-year-long draconian siege

on Gaza will now become a total closure, vowing, “No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel.

Everything is closed.” There are over two million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are

children. Without intervention, this catastrophe threatens to become unimaginably more

devastating.

The unthinkable becomes acceptable when we deny people their humanity. We must fight to

bring this devastating violence to an immediate end.

President Biden: Stop sending the Israeli

military more weapons. Facilitate an immediate ceasefire. Millions of lives depend on it.

Link:

https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/resource/ceasefire

4

. From Doctors Without Borders:

Ask

President Biden & Secretary of State Blinken: End

hostilities in Gaza now

“Hospitals are overwhelmed. There are no more painkillers now. Our staff tells us about the

wounded screaming in pain, the injured, the sick who cannot get to the hospital and the terror of

finding themselves bombed in a few hours.”

– Doctors Without Borders on the situation in Gaza

Thousands of people in Gaza have already died, including hundreds of children. People fleeing

are running out of clean water, and even supposed ‘safe zones’ have reportedly been under attack

by the Israeli government.

The indiscriminate attacks by Hamas on everyday people in Israel were horrific and

unjustifiable. But what’s happening in Gaza isn’t justice. The Israeli government cutting off

millions of people from water, food, and fuel while showering them with bombs must stop now.

This type of violence isn’t going to bring safety or liberation to anyone, it’ll only breed more

violence, hatred, and trauma. People in Palestine and Israel deserve far more than the broken

status quo that has let them all down so devastatingly.

The U.S. government will play a pivotal role in what happens next — and as President Biden

travels to Israel tomorrow, we have a crucial chance to push the Administration to focus its

efforts on saving lives..

Link:

https://act.winwithoutwar.org/sign/biden-end-hostilities/

5. From DiEM25:

Petition for the Resignation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the

European Commission

In responding to the recent crisis in Israel and Palestine, European Commission President Ursula

von der Leyen has violated the European Union’s legal framework and disregarded basic moral

decency. While condemning attacks on civilians in Israel, she has supported the sealing off of

civilians in Gaza from water, food and electricity and the bombing of the people of Gaza under

the guise of “defense”. This unilateral action disregards international law and the democratic

mandate of EU member states. The President of the European Commission thus disregards

international law, the democratic mandate of EU member states, appropriate ethical behavior,

and the necessary diplomatic prudence. Sign to ask for her immediate resignation.

Her problematic actions:

1. unilateral stance without a mandate

Ursula von der Leyen has supported the sealing off of civilians in Gaza from water, food and

electricity and the bombing of Gaza under the guise of “defence” without a mandate from EU

member states.

2. ignoring international law (Geneva Convention Article 33: prohibition of collective

punishment)

While EU member states, the UN and other international bodies have acknowledged the dire

humanitarian situation in Gaza as a result of collective punishment, President von der Leyen has

explicitly expressed unilateral solidarity with Israel.

3. undermining the moral authority of the EU

The President’s attitude towards Israel is in stark contrast to her condemnation of similar actions

in the past, such as Russia’s against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, which she described as war

crimes. This is application of international law as it sees fit, which undermines the EU’s moral

authority.

4. circumvention of institutional processes

Ursula von der Leyen’s actions not only bypassed the European Council, but also disregarded the

separation of powers within the EU, according to which foreign policy is not determined by the

Commission. Please sign our petition:

Link:

https://internal.diem25.org/en/petitions/91

Backgrounders

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on Climate Change

Laudato Deum

, published October 4, 2023

Eight years ago, Pope Francis issued his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ expressing his

concern for our common home. Earlier this month, on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,

Francis issued an Apostolic Exhortation to “All People of Good Will.” He castigated

climate deniers and Western nations—especially the United States—for their

“irresponsible lifestyle(s).” He wrote, “Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over

or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident. No

one can ignore the fact that in recent years we have witnessed extreme weather

phenomena, frequent periods of unusual heat, drought and other cries of protest on the

part of the earth that are only a few palpable expressions of a silent disease that affects

everyone. …If up to now we could have heat waves several times a year, what will

happen if the global temperature increases by 1.5° C, which we are approaching? Those

heat waves will be much more frequent and with greater intensity. If it should rise above

2 degrees, the icecaps of Greenland and a large part of Antarctica

will melt completely,

with immensely grave consequences for everyone. …in a few years many people will

have to move their homes… Consequently, a broader perspective is urgently needed…

What is being asked of us is nothing other than a certain responsibility for the legacy we

will leave behind, once we pass from this world. …I repeat over and over again:

‘Everything is connected’ and ‘No one is saved alone’.”

Read it. Link:

https://climateactionaustralia.wordpress.com/2023/10/06/from-the-pope-to-

all-people-of-good-will-on-the-climatecrisis-metacrisis-climatemajority-energyblind/

On the Israel-Gaza War

1.

The Israel-Hamas War – And What it Means for the World

Ian Bremmer interviewed by Helen Walker

TED Talk, October 9, 2023

The Hamas attacks on Israel in October 2023 stunned the world. In this timely

conversation, political scientist Ian Bremmer explains the historical context of the

conflict, how Israel might respond and what it means for Jews, Palestinians and the world

at large. Listen in for analysis of the unprecedented events, how the US may factor into

the global response and how to find reliable information amid the breathless media

coverage and the fog of war. (This interview, hosted by TED’s head of curation Helen

Walters.

About Ian Bremmer:

Prof. Bremmer is the president and founder of political risk research and consulting firm

Eurasia Group as well as GZERO Media, a company dedicated to providing intelligent

and engaging coverage of international affairs. He teaches at Columbia University’s

School of International and Public Affairs and works as an independent voice on critical

issues. He serves as foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large for TIME, hosts GZERO

World, which airs weekly on PBS, and is a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, and

MSNBC.. He also created Wall Street’s first global political risk index (GPRI) and

established political risk as an academic discipline. Bremmer is the author of eleven

books including Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism, which examines the rise of

populism across the world, and The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats—and Our

Response—Will Change the World.

Watch here:

https://www.ted.com/talks/ian_bremmer_the_israel_hamas_war_and_what_it_means_for

_the_world/transcript

2.

Israeli Journalist Amira Hass, Daughter of Holocaust Survivors, Calls for Gaza

Ceasefire Now

Democracy Now! October 19, 2023

Part 2 of Amy Goodman’s interview with legendary Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who

has reported from the occupied West Bank and Gaza for over 30 years. She discusses

attending Wednesday’s historic protest in Washington, D.C., led by American Jewish

groups, calling for an immediate ceasefire, as well as the events leading up to the Hamas

attack on Israel on October 7, the ongoing hostage situation, and what could come next.

“How can they say Israel is not responsible?” asks Hass, who says the government has

continued its policy of apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians despite

decades of international pressure to end the conflict. “Israel did everything possible to

foil the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs on over 1,500 TV and

radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch livestream at democracynow.org Mondays

to Fridays 8-9 a.m. ET.

Watch now (25 min). Link:

3. Palestinian American Journalist Rami Khouri on Israel’s Gaza Bombardment & Risk of

a Regional War

Democrisy Now! October 24, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning if Hezbollah joins the fray in

Israel’s escalating war on the Palestinian territories, Israel will wage a second war in

Lebanon. This comes as Israel exchanged fire with Hezbollah on the southern border of

Lebanon and struck airports in Syria. We discuss the latest developments with Rami

Khouri, Palestinian American journalist and columnist with 50 years’ experience in the

Middle East. He discusses simmering tensions in the region, where he says Israel’s “tough

guy” approach is a failed military strategy that only generates “greater resistance a year or

two down the road” from groups like Hezbollah and Hamas — who see themselves as

defending themselves from an invading and occupying force in “the last anticolonial

struggle in the world.”

Watch now (20 min) Link:

Quote

“They fear love because it creates a world they can’t control.” – George Orwell

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024

Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators

Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111

https://whitehouse.gov/contact

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly:

https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #62

October 2, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From REI: Help pass the bipartisan TREES (Trees for Residential Energy and Economic Savings) Act was created to bolster tree canopy in underserved neighborhood

According to our partners at American Forests, a map of tree cover in the U.S. is too often a map of income and race. Neighborhoods with no or low tree cover often have lower home values, lower income levels, and higher populations of people of color. The bipartisan TREES (Trees for Residential Energy and Economic Savings) Act was created to bolster tree canopy in underserved neighborhoods in order to lower residential energy costs and help mitigate the effects of climate change, like devastating heat islands or flooding. The bill would create a program at the Department of Energy to plant a minimum of 300,000 trees annually in neighborhoods where they are needed most. In a time of rising temperatures, this bill is as important as ever. Join us in the collective efforts to get it passed. Take action by telling Congress to support the TREES Act today. 

Link: https://www.rei.com/action/network/campaign/trees-act

2. From Demand Justice: Ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to implement a Code of Ethics for the Supreme Court

Supreme Court justices should be held to the highest ethical standards. It is a disgrace that Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito accept gifts and vacations from billionaire benefactors, often without disclosing them. The good news is, Senate has the power to rein in this corruption in this co-equal branch of government. So, we’re calling on Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin to hold full hearings on Clarence Thomas’ and Samuel Alito’s misconduct as soon as possible. And we’re asking Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bring a bill to implement a binding code of ethics for Supreme Court justices to the Senate floor as soon as possible. Sign our petition to Sen. Durbin & Sen. Schumer to let them know that we’re watching their leadership on this important issue. We’ll deliver the names to their offices at the start of the Supreme Court term in Oct..

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-senate-democratic-leadership-rein-in-the-supreme-court-2/

3. From Win Without War: Hold government contractors accountable for their income taxes.

In 2022 alone, 55 of the largest corporations in the U.S. paid $0 in federal taxes, despite having substantial pre-tax income. Lockheed Martin is a prime example with a whopping 71% of its net sales coming directly from U.S. government contracts. That means a HUGE share of Lockheed’s $7.9 BILLION stock buybacks, along with its dividends and appreciated stock value last year was funded by YOU. In response, last year, Congress passed and President Biden signed a law setting a 15% corporate profits minimum tax on billion-dollar corporations who benefit from lucrative government contracts while exploiting tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share. Now as the U.S. Treasury Department is finalizing the rules for implementing the tax law, these weapons contractors are going all out with lobbying and favor-seeking to keep this profit pipeline flowing. Lockheed, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have turned tax evasion into an art form, amassing immense wealth at the expense of the taxpayer as they pay their investors tens of billions every single year. Join us in sending a message to President Biden to end this rip off. Hold weapons contractors accountable and make them pay their fair share.

Link: https://act.winwithoutwar.org/act/biden-corporatetax

4. From Moms Rising: Support abortion access

The vast majority of the American public supports access to abortion: 69% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal within the first trimester and 85% of Americans believe that access to abortion is imperative in dire circumstances. This means that the majority of voters, even those that lean conservative, believe that abortion should be available to all who need it. When access to critical healthcare services is revoked, it sends a clear message to us that legislators do not care about going against substantive due process, our fundamental right to bodily autonomy and right to choose what we want to do with our lives. Every day since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, more people are being denied abortion care, making an already dire situation worse. These bans and attacks directly impact millions of mothers across the country–because six in ten people who have abortions are already mothers–and people who are only aiming to make the best decisions for the future of their lives and family’s lives. Everyday, parents and families are faced with unthinkable and extremely harsh realities. Please sign our petition.

Link:  https://action.momsrising.org/sign/2023abortionpolls/

5. From Appalachian Voices: Hold MVP Accountable

The Mountain Valley Pipeline — plagued with problems and unnecessary since the beginning — is years behind schedule on its construction, which has ballooned in cost to $6.6 billion. Now, the companies behind the destructive project want to pass the increased costs from their bad planning on to consumers! MVP developers have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to increase the pipeline’s transportation rates, meaning the pipeline will be more expensive to operate than the company previously stated. The increased costs would be passed on to consumers. MVP also asked FERC to rush its decision in order to limit public response to MVP’s request. The public has only had 15 business days to review and submit comments on — that is not sufficient time for community input! The facts remain: Mountain Valley Pipeline developers are responsible for the project’s delays and for the cost increases. FERC must hold MVP accountable and the agency can start by denying a rate increase. Sign our petition to FERC today!

Link: https://appvoices.org/no-pipelines/no-special-favors-for-mvp/

Backgrounders

Democracy in the United States

Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy

The Christ Hedges Report Podcast with Matt Kennard

 21, 2023

Kennard and Claire Provost authored the new book, Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy (2023, Bloomberg Academic).

Claire Provost is co-founder and codirector of the non-profit Institute for Journalism and Social Change. Earlier, she headed Global Investigations at the independent media outlet openDemocracy, a fellow at the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) in London, and a data journalist at the Guardian. Matt Kennard is co-founder, and chief investigator, at Declassified UK, a news outlet investigating British foreign policy. He was a fellow and then director at the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) in London. He’s worked as a staffer for the Financial Times in DC, New York, and London and wrote two acclaimed books: Irregular Army (2012) and The Racket (2015).

Reviewer Noam Chomsky writes, “This wide-ranging inquiry-based on intensive on-the-ground investigation-unearths ‘a parallel world, outside of scrutiny…with very real consequences’. An ugly world, out of control, unaccountable, but with overwhelming power. It ranges from investor-state legal systems to intricate systems of corporate welfare that aid elites and investors. Always concealed in elaborate devices of seeming to do good. Silent Coup is a highly revealing exposé of the hidden real world.”

 Excerpt:

“The United States, like many industrialized countries, has undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, cementing into place a system of control the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism retains the institutions, symbols, iconography, and language of the old capitalist democracy, but internally corporations have seized all the levers of power to accrue ever greater profits and political control. Claire Provost and Matt Kennard in their book “Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy,” chart the way the corporate coup d’état was orchestrated. It examines the use of an international legal system to control and plunder the resources in the developing world, including the overthrow of governments that challenge corporate dominance. The authors expose the nefarious alliance between Non-Profit organizations and corporations, one that prioritizes profit rather than justice.”

36 minutes

Listen. Link: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-chris-hedges-report-podcast-with-3e0

State of the Global Environment

            Deep(er) Ecology Reality Roundtable #2

Nate Hagen’s interview three prominent ecologists, Rex Wexler, William Reece, and Nora Bateson

July 9, 2023

 I was just listening to Bill Reece in that Nate Hagen triple interview and I think he is the sanest man on the plaent. We have to decarbonize but the reality is that we’ve got 8 billion people now and we can’t starve them, so fossil-fuel supported ag isn’t possible to be powered by renewables and so we’ll be burning fossil fuels for at least the next 30 years. BUT, it can’t go on b/c economically available fossil fuels will be gone in 30 years, and we’ll be back to the ag of 100 years ago. And we aren’t doing a thing to deincentivize the 1.8% population growth rate that adds a New Delhi worth of people to the planet annually. Rex Wexler is right on the population issue.

 Nate’s guests discuss the purpose of ecology and what it might look like to have a civilization centered around it. Despite our tendency to think of ourselves as separate from the biosphere, humans are a part of it, just like any other animal. What sets us apart now is our outsized impact on the world around us, as we and our societies take up more space and resources, degrading the ecosystems that support ourselves, our descendants, and other species. How can an understanding of systems and relationships help us rethink how we interact with the planet? Could ecologically literate governments and citizens create wider boundaries across time and space in which decisions are made? What might the parameters be for a civilization centered around ecology, and how can we navigate there through declining energy and resource availability? Most of all, how can we as individuals and communities root ourselves into a deep(er) ecological knowledge and way of being?

About William Rees:

William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada. He researches the implications of global ecological trends for the longevity of civilization, with special focus on urban (un)sustainability and cultural/cognitive barriers to rational public policy. Prof Rees is best known as the originator and co-developer with Dr Mathis Wackernagel of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ (EFA), a quantitative tool that estimates human demands on ecosystems and the extent to which humanity is in ‘ecological overshoot.’ Dr Rees is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the OneEarth Living Initiative; a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute and an Associate Fellow of the Great Transition Initiative.

About Nora Bateson:

Nora Bateson is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute, based in Sweden. Her work asks the question “How can we  improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?”An international lecturer, researcher and writer, Nora wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary, An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson. Her work brings the fields of biology, cognition, art, anthropology, psychology, and information technology together into a study of the patterns in ecology of living systems. Her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, released by Triarchy Press, UK, 2016 is a revolutionary personal approach to the study of systems and complexity.

About Rex Weyler:

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land; the Government and Corporate War Against First Nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a cofounder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping. He currently posts the “Deep Green” column at the Greenpeace International website. He lives on Cortes Island in British Columbia, with his wife, artist Lisa Gibbons.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE39xfNRRyw  

Update on the War in Ukraine

NATO Escalates: The War enters a new phase

Glenn Diesen interviews Colonel Douglas Macgregor

September 12, 2023

Douglas Macgregor is a retired U.S. Army colonel and government official, and an author, and Pentagon consultant. His 1997 book Breaking the Phalanx argued for radical reforms inside the Army. In 2020, Macgregor was hired to serve as Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Macgregor was educated at the Wm. Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and at the Virginia Military Institute, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a BS in general engineering in 1976. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in international relations in 1987. See https://douglasmacgregor.com

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KIqR3ORYLE

CIA Manipulation of Public Opinion

Judge Napolitano: Interview of Jeffrey Sachs.

September 13, 2023

Columbia University  Professor, Jeffrey Sachs  returns to Judging Freedom for an in-depth discussion on public manipulation of opinion by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Fast forward to 16:43 for the discussion of the Ukraine War,

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEhneK9tfRg

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Plowshare Action Alert #61

September 13, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Generation180:

In the last few years, Virginia has become a clean energy leader with the passing of landmark legislation including the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Clean Car Standards, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Generation180’s Virginia Drives Electric 2022 Report found that Virginians are overwhelmingly in favor of the clean energy transition. 

But our future is under attack by legislators who want to unlawfully repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and put Virginia’s economy, climate, and public health at risk. RGGI is a cooperative, market-based effort among Virginia and 11 other states to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. To date, the initiative has brought $657 million to the state of Virginia – funding flood resilience, home weatherization, and energy efficiency and affordable housing projects across the state. 

Let’s work together to protect our future and build a clean energy economy that benefits all Virginians. Tell Gov. Youngkin today to protect Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. 

Link: https://generation180.org/protect-clean-energy-policy-in-virginia-2023

2. From Save the Children:

Millions across the U.S. went months without any books to read. Now, instead of looking forward to the first day of school, they’re worried about falling behind. Early childhood education is so important — it sets soon-to-be students up for a lifetime of learning. Please tell lawmakers to invest in early education! One in five Americans say finding affordable child care is a struggle — and it could get worse. Congress is considering devastating cuts that’d make early education even harder to come by. More kids would miss out on critical learning opportunities, leaving them unprepared for school. Please, take a moment to protect children’s futures.

Link: https://act.savethechildrenactionnetwork.org/a/make-summer-fair-2023

3. From the Rachel Carson Council:

Republicans funded by Big Agribusiness are trying to pass a Farm Bill that includes the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa. This pro-factory farm legislation comes as a direct response to California’s Proposition 12, an animal welfare win that even the conservative Supreme Court upheld last May. It allows the state to enforce strict guidelines on space and conditions for pigs sold as meat in California. Proposition 12 was a victory for public health, humane animal treatment, and sustainable agriculture advocates, and was passed into law by California voters. The EATS Act threatens to prevent states from passing measures like Proposition 12, infringing on states’ rights to respond to local and regional issues like food safety, diseases, and invasive species. Tell your Representative and Senators to STOP the EATS Act from being included in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Link: https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/action-alert-tell-congress-stop-pro-factory-farm-act-farm-bill/

4. From Roots Action:

Ask Your Congress Member to Support House Resolution 77. This resolution calls on the President to embrace the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of the national security policy of the US; and calls on the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and all other Federal and congressional leaders to actively pursue negotiations on a new, bilateral nuclear arms control and disarmament framework agreement with the Russian Federation and with China and other nuclear-armed states for the verifiable, enforceable, and time bound elimination of global nuclear arsenals; renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first; end the President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack; take the nuclear weapons of the US off hair-trigger alert; and

cancel the plan to replace the nuclear arsenal of the US with modernized, enhanced weapons. Ask your Representative to cosponsor.

Link: https://rootsaction.org/ask-your-congress-member-to-support-h-res-77

5. From 350.org

The United States is the second biggest emitter of fossil fuels, which means we have a critical role to play in reversing this alarming trend and ensuring a future for us and our planet.

That’s why we’re urging President Biden to take a stand at the G20 summit and come out in strong support to massively scale up global renewable energy and limit the rise of global temperatures.

Link: https://350.org/us-g20-biden-2023/

6. From PIRG

The United States creates millions of metric tons of plastic waste each year, and only 5% of it is recycled. We need to address this problem at every level to reduce pollution and its consequences for our communities, our environment and our health. That’s why PIRG is supporting the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. But it needs leadership on Capitol Hill to pass. Send a message now to your U.S. senators and House representative, urging them to cosponsor this important legislation.

Link: https://pirg.org/take-action/tell-congress-cosponsor-the-break-free-from-plastic-pollution-act/

Backgrounders

U.S. Aid to Israel

Cutting US Aid to Israel Doesn’t Go Nearly Far Enough

by Tariq Kenney-Shawa, The Nation, August 21, 2023

 Excerpt:

“Washington’s ability to pressure Israel using money has long since disappeared. Progressives need to aim much higher. … According to the government’s own figures, the United States has provided Israel with over $260 billion in both bilateral assistance and military funding. This makes Israel the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. In 2016, the Obama administration signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on military aid, committing a record-breaking $38 billion in military assistance (about $3.8 billion each year). As per the agreement, Israel must use most of the funds it receives from Washington to buy weapons from US manufacturers. As a result, Israel gets billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art American military equipment for free, while the US military-industrial complex makes the big bucks—all paid for by us, the American people.”

Read on. Link: https://www.thenation.com/article/world/united-states-cutting-israel-aid-not-enough/

Tipping Points in Climate Change

Why it’s so important to figure out when a vital Atlantic Ocean current might collapse

by Lauren Sommer, National Public Radio (NPR), July 27, 2023

Excerpt:

“Deep in the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a massive current the size of 8,000 Mississippi Rivers. Its role in the Earth’s climate is so powerful that it determines weather from the equator to Europe, crop production in Africa and sea level rise on the East Coast. …
Direct measurements of the Atlantic circulation have only been made since 2004. Given the depths and distances the AMOC covers, it’s challenging to keep tabs on it. But with the potential for such widespread impacts, scientific researchers say further research is more urgent than ever — as well as rapid action to limit how much the planet warms.”

Read on. Link: https://www.npr.org/2023/07/27/1190519762/why-its-so-important-to-figure-out-when-a-vital-atlantic-ocean-current-might-col

State of the Global Environment

            The global biomass of wild mammals

By Lior Greenspoon, Eyal Krieger, Ron Sender, and Ron Milo

Pablo Marquet (Ed), Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

PNAS, Feb. 27, 2023

            Boggles the mind! The whole paper is thought provoking.

Excerpt:

“There are several qualitative notions about the world that we tend to internalize, that decrease the apparent need and urgency of nature conservation efforts. Notably that the world is enormous and by corollary that natural things, shown in their explosive diversity in many natural history movies, textbooks, and museums, are seemingly endless and intuitively much more abundant than anything humanity creates. Rigorous estimates of the biomass of various components of the living world, when contrasted to human-associated masses, help dispel these erroneous notions and conclusions. Such estimates thus have utility independent of their direct ecological implications. Concrete examples are the findings that the mass of human-made things, so-called anthropogenic mass, now exceeds the mass of all living things or the current finding that there is only ≈3 kg of wild land mammals per person on earth and that the mass of dogs or sheep outweighs all wild mammals combined.”

And consider this in an even wider context that fossil fuels, and in particular natural gas (methane) from which ammonia and hence nitrogen fertilizer is derived, supports half of the world’s population, or 4 billion people! No fertilizer and the world’s population would drop by 50%! Furthermore, we are fast approaching the end of the fossil fuel era, at which point, we collapse.

Read on and note the graphics in the paper: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2204892120

Update on the War in Ukraine

Ukrainian dissident resists NATO’s proxy war

The Grayzone, Interview by Max Blumenthal, Sept. 9m 2023

Ukrainian journalist and exiled antiwar dissident Ruslan Kostaba has been jailed and brutally attacked for his years of opposition to his government’s war in the Donbas, and his calls for peace with Russia. From exile, he speaks about the growing movement in Ukraine against escalating the war, and the price his countrymen face for attempting to escape the war.

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TPiabsueDI

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

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Plowshare Action Alert #60

August 24, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From World BEYOND war:

Ukraine is prosecuting Yurii Sheliazhenko for supporting peace. Sign the petition to support Yurii. Hear what Yurii says about it. Read about the military breaking into his apartment. This war will end with compromise and negotiation or with nuclear apocalypse. Total defeat of either side is dramatically less likely. So, while both sides are to blame, and while most people like to blame only one side or the other, what matters right now is that both sides are insisting on unconditional surrender, which will not happen — nuclear war will happen first. We need negotiations now!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-the-ukrainian-government-to-drop-prosecution-of-peace-activist-yurii-sheliazhenko/

2. From MomsRising.org:

Republican leadership in Congress is considering hurting families by cutting funding for our country’s most successful early learning program, Head Start. They want to CUT Head Start by $750 million for the next fiscal year, depriving roughly 80,000 children access to this critical program! Sign our petition to tell Congress to oppose devastating cuts to Head Start funding!

Link: https://action.momsrising.org/sign/support-head-start/

3. From Code Pink:

The Biden administration wants to spend another $24 billion dollars – most of it on weapons –to continue the war in Ukraine even though the counter-offensive has been a disaster for Ukrainians in terms of  lives lost and wounded. This announcement comes right after a new CNN poll reveals 55% of respondents oppose spending more to continue the war in Ukraine. Tell Congress to vote NO on endless war funding! The White House request, if granted, would put the cost of this war at nearly $140 billion for US taxpayers while millions of people in this country live paycheck to paycheck. Diplomacy is how wars end for good. Diplomacy is how we stop the killing. The answer to the war in Ukraine is not more weapons. Cluster munitions, tanks coated in depleted uranium, long range fighter jets or nuclear-capable F-16s will only line the coffers of weapons manufacturers in the U.S., while pushing the world to the precipice of World War III. Act before Congress votes on $24 billion more to Ukraine: Tell them Negotiations not Escalation!

Link: https://www.codepink.org/nomorewarukraine

4. From Public Citizen:

The multinational insurance giant AIG is one of the world’s largest fossil fuel insurers. Fossil fuel companies need insurance coverage to finance and build oil and gas expansion projects. Other major insurance companies are already restricting coverage for new oil and gas projects, but not AIG. Unlike 22 other insurers, AIG has yet to rule out support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which would generate over 34 million tons of pollution annually if completed. Already, communities have been displaced to make way for construction. Help us expose AIG’s anti-climate actions and tell executives to stop insuring climate destruction.

Link: https://publiccitizen.salsalabs.org/aigemail/index.html

5. From Roots Action Network:

The Saudi-U.S. war on Yemen has killed many more people than the war in Ukraine thus far, and the death and suffering continue despite a temporary truce. Sen. Bernie Sanders backed off on forcing a vote to end U.S. participation, but Pres. Biden has not ended U.S. participation. Nor has the president stopped providing Saudi Arabia with weapons, much less kept his campaign promise to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah state. With a tiny number of flights leaving Yemen for ticket prices that most cannot afford, those in need of medical care cannot travel to foreign hospitals — and the ones in Yemen have been bombed. Food and medical supplies are still badly needed in Yemen. The war and the blockade should be ended, and efforts put into actual aid instead. We need the war ended also to teach Congress that it can end wars. Please contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to help end this horror.

Link: https://rootsaction.org/end-the-war-on-yemen

6. From Friends of Evans Spring:

Please urge Roanoke City Council to direct the city manager to develop a plan to acquire the parcels currently zoned Residential – Agriculture (RA) in the Evans Spring Planning Area, rezone them to Recreation-Open Space (ROS, and create a publicly accessible park and greenspace to protect nearby neighborhoods from extreme urban heat and reduce stormwater flooding that endangers downstream homes and businesses. Evans Spring is the largest remaining tract of “undeveloped” land in Roanoke City and currently provides critical ecosystem services that protect local public health from extreme urban heat and protect homes and property against flooding. Roanoke has a glut of underutilized and vacant commercial and industrial areas – and the accompanying concrete and asphalt that traps heat and contributes to stormwater runoff. We do not want or need more unnecessary, irresponsible development that degrades our environment and lowers our quality of life. Please support the creation of a park and greenspace around Evans Spring that respects the wishes of the local neighborhoods and aligns with Roanoke’s stated values and goals around sustainability and equity.

Link: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/996/627/695/friends-of-evans-spring-statement-on-proposed-development-of-the-evans-spring-area-public-petition/

Backgrounders

Background on the Ukraine War

Illusory Truth & ‘Unprovoked’ Invasion

by Caitlin Johnstone, via Consortium News, August 10, 2023

 Note:

One the great shockers accompanying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the immediate, widespread, incessant pontificating of the US mainstream media (MSM) with the charge that the invasion was “unprovoked.” This cover-up charge was necessary for the US National Security Complex that over the decades greatly provoked Russia with NATO expansion, missile deployments, treaty abrogation, and media’s over-the-top Russiagate campaign. 

As Caitlin Johnstone documents with statements from Noam Chomsky and others, the pervasiveness of the US MSM’s “unprovoked” charge was unprecedented. It was slavishly adopted by the US media from top to bottom, from the NYT to the Roanoke Times, including magazines like the Atlantic and New Yorker. Spreading their Big Lie was crucial for a cover-up of the US’s provocations and the demonization of Russia. 

The “unprovoked” charge continues, in spite of the many efforts around the country (including here in the Roanoke Valley) for anti-war activists to write letters and op-eds, trying (sadly, in vain) to rectify the phony charge. The ordinary citizen is immune to any facts that reveal the lie that the US was innocent of provocation and that refute the charges of Russian treachery.

– Dr. Frank Munley, Plowshare Public Information Committee.

Read on. Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/08/10/caitlin-johnstone-illusory-truth-unprovoked-invasion/

Update on Palestine

In May, Progressive International dispatched a delegation to Palestine to bear witness to the processes of dispossession, apartheid, and settler-colonialism that characterize the Israeli regime. This week, we published a full report of that delegation, what it learned and how the cause of Palestinian justice and dignity can be advanced.

The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the Sanders Institute form a common group, Progressive International, in 2018, to unite, organize, and mobilize progressive forces behind a shared vision of a world transformed. They aspire to a world that is:

  • Democratic, where all people have the power to shape their institutions and societies.
    • Decolonized, where all nations determine their destiny free from oppression.
    • Just, that redresses inequality in our societies and the legacy of shared history.
    • Egalitarian, that serves the interests of the many, and not the few.
    • Liberated, where all identities enjoy equal rights, recognition, and power.
    • Solidaristic, where the struggle of each is the struggle of all.
    • Sustainable, that respects planetary boundaries and protects frontline communities.
    • Ecological, that brings human society into harmony with its habitat.
    • Peaceful, where the violence of war is replaced by diplomacy.
    • Post-capitalist, that rewards all forms of labor.
    • Prosperous, that eradicates poverty and invests in a equitable future.
    • Plural, where difference is celebrated as strength.

Excerpt:

“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement calls the new Israeli government “the most racist, fundamentalist, sexist, corrupt, authoritarian and homophobic ever—without masks.” The regime represents, among others, the interests of a particular branch of the Zionist project: the settlers. Its Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, a self-declared “fascist”, has repeatedly called for the erasure of Palestinian towns and communities, while plotting for a radical expansion of the settler-colonial project.”

Read on. Link: https://progressive.international/movement/article/2023-08-07-palestine-delegation-report/en

Update on the Climate Crisis

Earth Ablaze

Dale Waikonen interviews climate scientists Paul Beckwith and Peter Carter on FacingTheFuture.tv, August 11, 2023.

“The evidence is all around us.  Our industrialized civilization is taking us into an unlivable future.  Every continent is affected by the fever we have inflicted on our planet.  The gravity of the climate emergency is clear.  Even as the crisis hits the US and Europe – Maui fires, Midwest hailstorms, hot tub ocean temperatures in Florida, Italian cities on red alert, Spain in drought, extended heat waves- mirroring what’s been happening in the global south, political action is still not happening.  What will it take for world leaders to stop subsidizing extinction?  And what do the next decades portend?” 

In this program,

Peter Carter, the director of the #ClimateEmergency Institute, and co-author of Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival

and

Paul Beckwith, Climate System Scientist and Professor of Climatology, Meteorology, and Oceanography at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University

look at this question and explain why getting off fossil fuels is essential to our survival.”.

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6goo4SapW90

Quote

“Native peoples teach that the ultimate norm for morality is the impact our choices have on persons living seven generations from now. If the results appear good for them, then our choices are moral ones, if not, they are immoral.” – The Rev. Matthew Fox

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015 Emial: plowshare@plowshareva.org Website:

https://plowshareva.org  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter 

Plowshare Action Alert #59

August 4, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Code Pink:

President Biden nominated Elliott Abrams to a key advisory committee on diplomacy. Elliott Abrams knows absolutely nothing about diplomacy as he has made a career of lying and making policy that led to the death and suffering of innocent people from Guatemala to Iraq. He embraces militarism, covers up for gross human rights abuses, and has a history of supporting authoritarian regimes. Tell Senators Kaine and Warner to vote NO on his appointment!

Link: https://www.codepink.org/noabrams

2. From the Southern Environmental Law Conference:

We are at a critical moment in the fight against climate change, but cutting our forests and burning them for energy isn’t appropriate. The biomass energy industry often relies on trees cut from southern forests by turning them into wood pellets and then burning them for power. Even though they tout it as ‘clean energy,’ burning wood pellets can release more heat-trapping carbon than burning coal. Wood pellet facilities also release harmful pollutants. Creating incentives for the biomass energy industry will increase the number of these plants and contradict important federal environmental justice goals. The UK and E U have created billions of dollars of subsidies for biomass energy, and we are seeing the devastating impacts the industry has had on our forests, our climate and our communities. U.S. leaders should not make the same mistakes made overseas by categorizing the biomass energy industry as “carbon-neutral.” Instead, the U.S. must focus on transitioning to proven clean-energy sources and commit to cutting carbon – not forests.

Link: https://p2a.co/GbV7tU3

3. From Stop the Money Pipeline:

We need to rein in the big banks that are pumping trillions of dollars into fossil fuel companies, fueling the climate crisis. We need the Fossil Free Finance Act. Please contact your Member of Congress and urge him to support this bill. We know that these impacts will only get worse if we keep investing in the companies responsible for the crisis. We know that a return on investment in more fossil fuels looks like more heatwaves, wildfires, and smoke filled skies.

Join us in pressuring the banks to stop financing climate chaos. Call your Member of Congress and urge them to support the Fossil Free Finance Act. A call script and our tool will help connect you with your Congressperson’s office to speak with a staff member directly. All you have to do is make the call. The Fossil Free Finance Act would mandate the biggest banks to stop financing fossil fuels, by both forcing banks to prioritize lending to companies that provide benefits to workers impacted by the transition to a clean energy economy, and to stop funding companies and projects that make the climate crisis worse. We need to pass the Fossil Free Finance Act!

Link: https://stopthemoneypipeline.com/call-congress-pass-fffa/

4. From the Native Organizers Action Alliance:

Economic inequality in the U.S. continues to grow with more and more going to the richest. In a system where wealth equals power, that power seeks to take away our sovereign rights, seeks to destroy the commons for corporate profit, and seeks to limit and take away our voting rights.

This growing concentration of wealth threatens our right to self-governance and sovereignty. Tribal nations, urban Indian communities — we all need a wealth tax that levels the playing field for Native people and working people everywhere. That’s why we’ve joined with our allies, urging Congress to pass the OLIGARCH Act — a progressive tax on extreme wealth that can begin to address growing levels of inequality. Please send a message to your representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and pass the OLIGARCH Act to place restraints on extreme wealth, which lead to rising levels of inequality.

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-representative-co-sponsor-and-pass-the-oligarch-act

5. From Stand.Earth:

In 2022, there was a widespread uprising in Ecuador led by Indigenous communities calling on the government to stop the expansion of extractive activities in the Ecuadorian region of Amazonia. The nation-wide strike lasted 18 days and pushed the government to repeal Executive Decree 95, a proposed expansion of oil and gas production. But the ongoing threat of oil and gas extraction wasn’t fully stopped and destruction of the region continues. The fossil fuel industry is propped up by global financial institutions pumping billions of dollars into extraction projects. What we found was shocking: 160 banks involved in $20 billion in Amazon oil and gas financing over the past 15 years.

Our new report, Capitalizing on Collapse, finds eight banks – JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Itaú Unibanco, HSBC, Banco Santander, Bank of America, Banco Bradesco, and Goldman Sachs – provided over $11 billion of the $20B in financing from 2009–2023. These banks have financed projects like the development of Amazonia’s biggest carbon bomb – the Parnaiba Gas Complex – a facility capable of releasing two gigatons of carbon in its lifetime. Amazonia is the last place oil and gas extraction should be happening. Forest destruction caused by industrial activities has already forced the Amazonian biome to a tipping point. Indigenous Peoples of Amazonia have put out an urgent call to protect 80% of the region by 2025 to save this key biodiversity hub. Banks must stop any and all financing of Amazon oil and gas. Please add your name and urge banks to stop capitalizing on the collapse of Amazonia:

Link: https://act.stand.earth/page/54896/petition/1

Backgrounders

Issues of Energy Use and the Climate Crisis

Just Stop Oil!? Part 2: Oil is the Economy / The Great Simplification

Frankly #39 with Nate Hagens, July, 2023

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF), an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches at the University of Minnesota and hosts a weekly podcast, The Great Simplification which focuses on understanding the interrelationships between energy, environment, and finance and the implication this synthesis has for human futures. In this episode, Hagens explains the scientific synthesis he’s created in respect to our global predicament. He says that our continued dependence of fossil fuels will continue even as we’ve passed “peak oil” and his bleak forecast that the market controls our fate is the logical consequence of our history of that dependence and our capitalist culture.

Watch now: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/39-just-stop-oil-part-2-oil-is-the-economy

Issue of Federal Government Priorities

Joe Biden Must Declare a Climate Emergency. And He Must Do So Now

Peter Kalmus, climate scientist

The Guardian, July 27, 2023

Peter Kalmus, with a PhD from Harvard, is an climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA  and associate project director at UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering.

“Biden’s refusal to declare a climate emergency and his eagerness to push new pipelines and new drilling – at an even faster pace than Trump – goes against science, goes against common sense, goes against life on Earth. In the world of politics-as-usual, with its short-term goals and calculus of ‘safer to follow than to lead’, I suppose there are reasons and rationalizations for this planet-destroying choice. But speaking as a scientist, it seems ignorant and short-sighted. It’s certainly a form of climate denial. And I have no doubt that fossil fuel executives and lobbyists – and those who chose to stand with them – will, in the future, be considered criminals.” 

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jul/27/joe-biden-climate-emergency-peter-kalmus

Update on the War in Ukraine

From Stalinism to the ‘Most Avoidable War in History’

Natylie Baldwin interviews Soviet and Russian specialist Geoffrey Roberts on Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, Europe’s role, Stalin and World War II.

July 21, 2023

Geoffrey Roberts is an historian, biographer and political commentator. A renowned specialist in Russian and Soviet foreign and military policy and an expert on Stalin and the Second World War, his books have been translated into numerous languages. He is emeritus professor of history at University College Cork and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Natylie Baldwin is the author of The View from Moscow: Understanding Russia and U.S.-Russia Relations. Her writing has appeared in various publications including The Grayzone, Antiwar.com, Covert Action Magazine, RT, OpEd News, The Globe Post, The New York Journal of Books and Dissident Voice.

Excerpt, Roberts speaking:

“The most important point about the Russia-Ukraine war is that it was the most avoidable war in history. It could have been avoided by Ukraine implementing the Minsk agreements. It could have been avoided by NATO halting its build-up of Ukraine’s armed forces. It could have been avoided by a positive U.S. response to Putin’s common security proposals of December 2021. Putin pulled the trigger but it was Ukraine and the West that loaded the gun.

“When the West stonewalled his security proposals, Putin had a choice — continue with what I call his militarised diplomacy, or take military action to force acceptance of his demands. He chose war because diplomacy didn’t seem to be working and because he thought it was better to fight now rather than later — hence my characterization of the invasion decision as a choice for preventative war.

“I disagreed with his decision for three reasons: (1) notwithstanding Ukraine’s progressive military build-up, a dire existential threat to Russia was emergent rather than imminent; (2) the chance of diplomacy succeeding was slim but not non-existent; and (3) going to war was an enormously dangerous and destructive step to take, not just for Russia and Ukraine but for Europe and the rest of the world.

“In retrospect, it seems clear that Putin’s decision for war was also based on a series of miscalculations. He over-estimated the power and efficacy of his armed forces, under-estimated Ukraine’s fighting ability, and, crucially, did not anticipate the determination and recklessness of the Western proxy war on Russia.”

Read more: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/07/21/from-stalinism-to-the-most-avoidable-war-in-history/

US Cluster Munitions Sent to Ukraine War

US cluster munitions will bring more pain and death to Donbass civilians, and Washington doesn’t care

By Eva Bartlett, In Gaza

Aug. 1, 2023

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine, where she lived for many years). 

Excerpt:

“The recent US decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine is immoral, unethical, and criminal. We’ve already seen the horrific results of the use of such weapons – civilians mutilated and murdered (often decades later) in Iraq and Southeast Asia, for example, and in Lebanon. In addition to the ethical reasons not to send these weapons to Ukraine, there are pragmatic reasons why, from a military perspective. …”

Read more: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2023/08/01/us-cluster-munitions-will-bring-more-pain-and-death-to-donbass-civilians-and-washington-doesnt-care/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

Plowshare Action Alert #58

July 9, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From the Southern Environmental Law Center:

Our few remaining old-growth forests provide unmatched natural benefits and beauty, but the U.S. Forest Service continues to target them in timber sales.  

If our older, most resilient forests’ incredible biodiversity, water-purification power, and boundless opportunities for recreation are not enough to convince you they’re worth protecting, their potential to store and sequester mass amounts of climate-harming carbon should. 

You can help by sending a comment to the Forest Service now. Tell the agency it must recognize logging as the primary threat to carbon storage in eastern national forests, and to use our mature and old-growth forests in the fight against climate change by protecting them. 

Link: https://act.southernenvironment.org/ksaqki1

2. From OilChange International:

Recently, the World Bank called on countries to end their fossil fuel subsidies and redirect those funds to support a livable planet. The only problem? The World Bank provides more public finance for fossil fuels than any other Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) and continues to push for new fossil fuel subsidies through development policy finance. Add your name and tell the World Bank to take its own advice and stop funding fossil fuels! Recently appointed World Bank President, Ajay Banga, signaled that he wants to move the Bank forward on climate. This provides an opportunity for us to make some noise to the new president in support of initiatives that develop clean solar and wind power, and lift people out of energy poverty. Click here to send a message directly to President Banga.

Link: https://act.priceofoil.org/sign/world-bank-end-fossil-finance

3. From the Sierra Club:

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently proposing safety rules for new and existing methane gas pipelines, underground storage facilities, and liquefied gas export facilities.  The proposal is expected to improve pipeline management by requiring operators to fix more leaks, faster. Gas is mostly made up of methane, a potent climate-warming greenhouse gas, that is mixed with many other harmful chemicals, including pollutants that form soot and smog and cancer-causing toxins. Any leak from gas pipelines is cause for concern. Historically, though, pipeline operators only had to fix “hazardous” leaks while other leaks were allowed to persist for years! We now have an opportunity to correct this flawed approach, and hope to improve upon DOT’s proposed safeguards.

We are strongly calling for these proposed rules to include: Increased inspection frequencies, increased repair frequencies; and improved leak detection technology requirements.

Please support these rules to strengthen the safety and well-being of our communities.

Link: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0393624&id

4. From Ban Assault Weapons:

Tell Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. After yet another violent holiday weekend, after more lives lost to weapons of war, our call to action is the same. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Pro-gun extremists hope that we’ll become numb and that we’ll give up. But we represent America’s commonsense majority – the 61% of Americans according to a Fox News poll that demand an assault weapons ban. We’ve sent over 36,000 letters to Congress at BanAssaultRifles.com to demand they put our lives first. Sign on now to help us reach 50,000.

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-ban-assault-rifles-2/

5. From Civic Shout:

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms just released a scathing new report about the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The report found that the “ongoing cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” of prisoners may meet the legal definition of torture. Amnesty International secretary general Agnès Callamard said the report makes clear “the urgent need for President Biden to finally close the detention facility at the Guantánamo Bay military base, and to end the unlawful practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial.” Sign the petition urging Pres. Biden to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Link: https://civicshout.com/p/close-guantanamo-now

Backgrounder

Update on the War in Ukraine

NY Times Blames SOCIAL SPENDING for Debt Crisis—Ignores Endless War

System Update with Glenn Greenwald, July 6, 2023

How endless war bankrupted the US while inflicting suffering at home. Currently the debt clock shows $32 trillion, $96k per citizen, $250k per taxpayer.

So our children have this huge debt to pay off. And that’s without having any say on the matter.

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQXPCd2stI

This is a 13 minute clip from Greenwald’s weekly show SYSTEM UPDATE, now airing every weeknight at 7pm ET on Rumble. You can watch the full episode for free 00 miat: https://rumble.com/v2yi1b6-system-update-111.html

U.S. Sending Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

On Friday, July 7, President Biden announced that the U.S. would send thousands of cluster bombs for Ukraine to use against the Russians as part of a new $800+ million military aid package. One hundred and twenty three countries, including Canada, Mexico, and most of Europe have signed an international treaty – the Convention on Cluster Munitions – that outlaws the use or stockpiling of these weapons due to their indiscriminate effect on civilian populations (see list and map https://www.clusterconvention.org/). The failure rate of these cluster munitions ranges from 2% to 40% and those that fail can later explode when stepped upon or handled (See International Red Cross: https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/assets/files/other/cluster-munitions-factsheet-2010.pdf ).

Israeli Army Raid on Jenin

Around 1 in the morning on July 3rd, more than 1000 Israeli soldiers invaded the occupied northern West Bank city of Jenin including the crowed Jenin refugee camp.  The invasion force included Apache attack helicopters, drones, and bulldozers along with the ground forces.  It has been described as the worst Israeli attack on Palestinians in decades. People were forced from their homes by the Israeli military. Palestinians resisted the Israeli forces with rocks, Molotov cocktails and small arms.  More than a dozen Palestinians were killed, including 3 children, and hundreds hospitalized, many in critical condition. Civilian infrastructure, including homes, streets, water pipes and medical facilities, were destroyed.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that this was not a one-time event and said “Israel would continue as long as necessary.”

Plowshare Peace Center stands with Churches for Middle East Peace, which are listed below, in condemning the military raids on Jenin and calling on the US government to take action. Despite Israeli claims of their actions being focused on militants and capturing arms caches, streets and homes have been bulldozed and more than 500 families in the densely populated camp have been evacuated. As Israel’s most influential ally, our government should be demanding restraint and negotiations aimed at reducing violence and the underlying tensions. Plowshare urges the Administration and Congress to reverse its position of silence and neglect for peacemaking in the region. We have reached this point of violence in part because the US has offered little resistance and, on too many occasions, support for an Israeli government bent on annexation of the West Bank and apartheid in its treatment of Palestinians.

Members of the Churches for Middle East Peace:

Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches USA, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/Common Global Ministries Board, Christian Reformed Church, Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelicals for Social Action, Franciscan Friars, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Moravian Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ/Common Global Ministries Board, United Methodist Church/ General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church/ Women’s Division

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111  https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #57

June 24, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Code Pink:

In a year marked by increasing Israeli land theft and violence against Palestinians, House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took trips to Israel to strengthen ties with the apartheid state. Congressional trips of this nature perpetuate the ongoing colonization of Palestine. Jeffries’ and McCarthy’s trips, as well as other congressional trips to Israel, contribute to a one-sided narrative of the Israeli occupation of Palestine which erases the Palestinian experience altogether and reinforces the status quo, enabling the violence Palestinians face daily. These trips adopt and reinforce a propagandized view of Israel and lead to political decisions that maintain funding for Israel’s violent military, which routinely raids Palestinian villages, murdering and injuring Palestinians and damaging their property. Further, new members of Congress are often offered a trip to Israel in order to maintain this cycle. Deter Congress members from going on trips to Israel by denouncing Jeffries and McCarthy’s trips:

Link: https://www.codepink.org/condemn_jeffries_mccarthy

2. From the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC):

The Korean War never ended, merely suspended by an armistice agreement. After over 70 years of conflict, urge our leaders to take concrete steps toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. Negotiating a peace agreement would reduce tensions and build confidence, providing the foundation upon which to more effectively engage on issues such as denuclearization and improved human rights. With escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it is clear that a transformative, peace-first approach is needed. Tell Congress to pass the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act!

Link: https://afsc.org/action/tell-congress-pass-peace-korean-peninsula-act

3. From Avaaz:

Peru’s lawmakers are about to vote on a new law that could cause a genocide in the Amazon. This proposal has a target: the sacred lands of isolated Indigenous communities, who are unaware of the danger surrounding them. Backed by miners, loggers and oil lobbyists, if this law passes, it could strip these isolated communities’ of their land rights, and create a new wave of invasions, destruction, violence and deadly viruses. A groundswell of support from global voices could tip the scales in favor of indigenous rights. Please add your voice now, and let’s shield these communities from this unjust proposal.

Link: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/stop_the_piaci_bill_loc/

4. From the Climate Reality Project:

“Let’s face facts. The problem is not simply fossil fuel emissions. It’s fossil fuels – period.” – António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations 

We couldn’t agree more. All signs point to a year of record heat with both temperatures and human suffering rising across the planet. Our window to avert catastrophic changes and give our children the incredible future they deserve is closing – fast. There is no more time, no more excuses, no economic or environmental rationale for the old system. That’s why we’ve been working hard with partners to replace Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ national oil company (yes, you read that right), as leader at the critical upcoming UN climate conference (COP 28). It should go without saying that we don’t trust the CEO of an oil company to lead the negotiations. Talks must focus on speeding the transition away from the fossil fuels driving climate change and threatening our shared future.

Link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/act/cop-28-leader

5. From the Occaneechi- Saponi Nation, (NC):

The interference by Congress and the White House to greenlight MVP has been unprecedented. MVP mainline construction has involved over 500 violations, and 75% of the route slices through ‘moderate-high’ or ‘high’ landslide risk terrain, including the Jefferson National Forest, and Indigenous burial mounds. Being fast-tracked means forcing the approval of all remaining federal permits within 21 days, and forbidding judicial review of any permits. With MVP mainline set to resume construction in WVA and VA, many concerned community members along the route have begun shifting their attention to pipe safety issues. The pipe has been sitting in the open sun for years, which leads to degradations that increase the risk of explosion. We still have a chance to cancel the MVP Southgate Extension, which WAS NOT explicitly named in the fast-tracking provisions. As was anticipated, MVP Southgate developers just submitted their request for an extension of their original FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) certificate, despite missing necessary authorizations and recently abandoning eminent domain proceedings for the project’s route through Rockingham and Alamance Counties, NC. Please sign and share the petition telling FERC to deny their request!

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-mvps-southgate-pipeline-extension/

6. From Appalachian Voices:

What do opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline do now, after the passage of the bill to raise debt limit with the rider to fast-track the pipeline? We highlight the dangers of the resumption of construction. We raise concerns about the use of pipes in that construction that have sat in the sun for years longer than the industry recommends, their protective coatings degraded by UV rays and exposure to the outdoors. We mobilize — from lobbying elected officials in Washington, D.C. to rallying with allies, to preparing for construction monitoring. We emphasize that the project is only 55.8% complete to full restoration, with 429 water crossings remaining and construction areas through some of the most steep, risky terrain. We help organizations like West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Mountain Valley Watch as they prepare volunteers for stream monitoring. We do everything in our power to hold the developers accountable, and we will push back against the renewal of the MVP Southgate’s certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Please sign the petition.

Link: https://appvoices.org/2023/06/15/mvp-what-next/

Backgrounders

Past US Foreign Interventions: Cambodia

Kissinger at 100: New War Crimes Revealed in Secret Cambodia Bombing That Set Stage for Forever Wars

with Nick Turse on his new book, Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, and Greg Grandin, on his book, Kissinger’s Shadow via Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, May 24, 2023

 Excerpt:

A bombshell new investigation from The Intercept reveals that former U.S. national security adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was responsible for even more civilian deaths during the U.S. war in Cambodia than was previously known. The revelations add to a violent résumé that ranges from Latin America to Southeast Asia, where Kissinger presided over brutal U.S. military interventions to put down communist revolt and to develop U.S. influence around the world. While survivors and family members of these deadly campaigns continue to grieve, Kissinger celebrates his 100th birthday this week. “This adds to the list of killings and crimes that Henry Kissinger should, even at this very late date in his life, be asked to answer for,” says The Intercept’s Nick Turse, author of the new investigation, “Kissinger’s Killing Fields.” We also speak with Yale University’s Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.

Watch now. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bXZy-TrKlw

Professor Jeffrey Sachs on US refusal to negotiate with Russia over the Ukraine War

Jeffrey Sachs Interview – Biden Continues to Ignore Russia’s Red Lines.

Jeffrey Sachs Official YouTube channel, June 12, 2023

President Kennedy recognized the threat to humanity of a nuclear conflict and made an amazing speech just weeks before his assassination (and may have caused it). Professor Sachs reminds us of Kennedy’s warning to world leaders and his entreaty for them to cooperate instead of divide, and take a stand for world peace.

Jeffrey Sachs is a well-known American economist, academic, and public policy analyst who has made significant contributions to the fields of sustainable development and economic development. He has held various prestigious positions throughout his career, including serving as the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and as a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. Sachs has authored numerous books and articles on topics related to economics, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.

Website: jeffsachs.org

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQr3BrHhxj8

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #56

May 30, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Oceana:

Big Oil’s allies in Congress are using this opportunity to demand more offshore oil drilling and try to gut our bedrock environmental laws, rubber stamp dirty fossil fuel infrastructure, and silence the voices of communities harmed by polluting projects. Polluting industries and their allies in Congress also want to eviscerate federal funding for all non-defense activities, including all programs that protect the environment and public health. And if they get their way, activities to protect critically endangered ocean wildlife such as the North Atlantic right whale will fall by the wayside. Congress should ensure that the U.S. government fulfills its fiscal obligations without harming oceans, coastal communities, and the future of our planet. Add your name today to urge Congress to protect ocean wildlife and coastal communities:

Link: https://act.oceana.org/page/128468/action/1

2. From Public Citizen:

America is the wealthiest nation on Earth and we spend more on health care per person than any other major country. Yet we have the worst health outcomes of any rich country, with the highest levels of infant mortality and the lowest life expectancy. Our health care system exacerbates rather than reduces racial and income inequity.

Even for people who have ‘good’ insurance, outrageous medical bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcy. And we are the only major country on the planet that does not guarantee health care to all of its people as a right. Sen. Bernie Sanders is reintroducing a Medicare for All bill in the U.S. Senate, joined by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, who are reintroducing Medicare for All in the House of Representatives.These bills would create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage — no networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills.  Tell your member of Congress: The United States is virtually the only rich country on Earth whose people are subject to the whims and greed of a private, for-profit, big business health care regime. Pass Medicare for All. Add your name.

Link: https://publiccitizen.salsalabs.org/tell-congress-pass-medicare-for-all-bill-from-bernie-sanders/index.html

3. From Greenpeace:

Plastic pollution has become a major global problem. Plastic pollution is flooding our planet, harming people’s health, accelerating social injustice, destroying biodiversity, and fueling the climate crisis. But right now, we have an opportunity to tackle plastic pollution on a global scale! At the end of May, governments from around the world are meeting again for United Nations negotiations on a Global Plastics Treaty — an agreement that, if ambitious enough, could dramatically reduce plastic production and force Big Brands to transition to systems of reuse and refill. Speak out. Tell President Biden to support a strong and ambitious Global Plastics Treaty!.

Link: https://engage.us.greenpeace.org/onlineactions/LqU29HfYxEmqVX_7_MOwVQ2

4. From Demand Justice, Faithful America, and others in a coalition:

Public trust in the Supreme Court is at an all-time low. Corrupt actions by sitting justices only serve to further erode the court’s integrity and the public’s trust in that court. Supreme Court Justices must be held to account for flouting the ethical rules that apply to every other judge in the country. We must restore transparency and accountability in the U.S. Supreme Court. We are calling on Congress to ensure that by passing the Supreme Court Ethics Act.

Sign the petition to Congress: Pass the Supreme Court Ethics Act:

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-to-congress-stop-the-corruption-the-supreme-court-must-be-made-to-follow-basic-ethics-standards-3

5. From Code Pink:

Conservative Cuban-Americans are trying to pass a law that would codify Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and prevent any president from removing it from the State Sponsors of Terrorist List. Tell your Representative they should vote NO on H.R. 314 and the Senate version S.538:

Link: https://www.codepink.org/cuba_no_force_act

6. From RootsAction:

Our military spending bill is over $850 billion. Most of the federal discretionary budget will go to pay for a war machine with more funding than 227 other countries combined. The richest 1% of people in the world amassed almost two-thirds of new wealth created in the last two years, Oxfam says. The US has wider disparities of wealth than any other major developed nation.

The College for All Act would make community college free for everyone. It would make public colleges and universities free for families with income under $125,000, and also make tuition free at private, nonprofit historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions for families with income under $125,000. The College for All Act would be paid for by the Tax on Wall Street Speculation Act, which would put a tax on trades of stock (at a rate of 0.5%), bonds (at 0.1%), and derivatives (at 0.005%).  Ask your senators to pass this bill:

Link: https://rootsaction.org/tell-congress-to-pass-the-college-for-all-act

7. From the Sierra Club:

On May 25th five conservative Justices of the Supreme Court decided to significantly weaken EPA’s determination of what waterways should be protected under the Clean Water Act. By issuing an opinion gutting the Clean Water Act’s definition of the term “Waters of the United States”, the Supreme Court has undermined the EPA’s authority to protect our precious wetlands, endangering the fundamental right to clean drinking water. This is yet another potent reminder that our foundational environmental laws are only as strong as the Judges and Justices who uphold them. Laws like the Clean Water Act are vulnerable to judges with conservative judicial philosophies. That’s why who we nominate to the federal courts is so important to our ability to accomplish our environmental goals and priorities.
Currently there are over 100 vacancies in the federal judiciary and as we continue our work to ensure clean water for all, it is imperative that President Biden and the Senate swiftly fill all these vacancies now. Reach out to your senators here, telling them: We need judges that respect our bedrock environmental laws. Confirm fair and just judges and fill all the vacancies on our federal courts:

Link: https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/submit-an-official-public-comment-urging-federal-action-to-stop-salmon-extinction

Backgrounders

  • “Russiagate”

            Why Russiagate Won’t Go Away

Myths make us feel good. Myths demonize those blamed for our self-created debacles. Myths celebrate us as a people and a nation. But it is like handing heroin to junkies.  

by Chris Hedges, Consortium News, May 21, 2023

 Excerpt:

“The cynical con the Democratic Party and the F.B.I. carried out to falsely portray Donald Trump as a puppet of the Kremlin worked, and continues to work, because it is what those who detest Trump want to believe.

If Russia is blamed for Trump’s election, we avoid the unpleasant reality of our failed democratic institutions and decaying empire. We avoid facing the inevitable rise of a Christianized fascism borne out of widespread impoverishment, rage, despair and abandonment.

We avoid acknowledging the complicity of the Democratic Party in the orchestration of the largest social inequality in our nation’s history, the evisceration of our basic civil liberties, endless wars and an electoral system bankrolled by the billionaire class, which is legalized bribery.

The myth allows us to believe that Democratic politicians, like the establishment Republicans who have joined them, are the guarantors of a democracy they destroyed.”

Read on. Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/05/21/chris-hedges-why-russiagate-wont-go-away/

If you prefer an audio version, listen to it here: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/listen-to-this-article-why-the-conspiracy

Further history:
Michael McFaul – U.S. Ambassador to Russia, 2012–2014 – wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2004 where he asked, ‘Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine?’ Then he answered it, ‘Yes.’

“Why did McFaul write the article? Because in 2004, George Soros and other NGOs fomented the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Basically, the election was won by a pro-Russia guy. So people protested and demanded a new election. Then, a month later, the pro-U.S. guy won the new election with 52% of the votes. Democracy, America-style.

“BTW, that guy – Yanukovych – who lost the election in 2004 … ran again in 2010 and won fair and square. That’s why we had Euromaidan.” Chris Kanthan / NationofChange / Op-Ed – August 15, 2018, “US staged a coup in Ukraine – here’s why and how.” 

  • Update on the War in Ukraine

Why Are We in Ukraine? On the dangers of American hubris

by Benjamin Schwarz, and Christopher Layne, Harpers Magazine, June issue, 2023

Benjamin Schwarz was formerly the national and literary editor of The Atlantic and the executive editor of World Policy Journal.  Christopher Layne is the University Distinguished Professor of International Affairs and the Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security at Texas A&M University..

Excerpts:

“Historically, great powers tend to focus pragmatically on reducing conflict among themselves. By frankly recognizing the realities of power and acknowledging each other’s interests, they can usually relate to one another on a businesslike basis. This international give-and-take is bolstered by and helps engender a rough, contextual understanding of what’s reasonable and legitimate—not in an abstract or absolute sense but in a way that permits fierce business rivals to moderate and accede to demands and to reach deals. By embracing what came to be called its ‘unipolar moment,’ Washington demonstrated—to Paris, Berlin, London, New Delhi, and Beijing, no less than to Moscow—that it would no longer be bound by the norms implicit in great power politics, norms that constrain the aims pursued as much as the means employed. Those who determine U.S. foreign policy hold that, as President George W. Bush declared in his second inaugural address, ‘the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.’ They maintain, as President Bill Clinton averred in 1993, that the security of the United States demands a “focus on relations within nations, on a nation’s form of governance, on its economic structure.”

“Whatever one thinks of this doctrine, which prompted Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to dub America ‘the indispensable nation’—and which Gorbachev said defined America’s ‘dangerous winner’s mentality’—it lavishly expanded previously established conceptions of security and national interest. In its crusading universalism, it could be regarded by other states, with ample supporting evidence, as at best recklessly meddlesome and at worst messianically interventionist.” …

and concluding,

“The policies that Washington has pursued toward Moscow and Kyiv, often under the banner of righteousness and duty, have created conditions that make the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia greater than it has ever been. Far from making the world safer by setting it in order, we have made it all the more dangerous.”

Read on: https://harpers.org/archive/2023/06/why-are-we-in-ukraine/

Raising the US Debt Limit

America’s Wars and the US Debt Crisis

To surmount the debt crisis, America needs to stop feeding the Military-Industrial Complex, the most powerful lobby in Washington.

by Jeffrey D. Sachs., Common Dreams, May 20, 2023

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three UN Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Sachs is the author of A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2020).

Excerpt:

“Now the MIC is talking up the prospect of war with China over Taiwan. The drumbeats of war with China are stoking the military budget, yet war with China is easily avoidable if the U.S. adheres to the One-China policy that properly underpins U.S.-China relations. Such a war should be unthinkable. More than bankrupting the U.S., it could end the world.

“Military spending is not the only budget challenge. Aging and rising healthcare costs add to the fiscal woes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, debt will reach 185 percent of GDP by 2052 if current policies remain unchanged. Healthcare costs should be capped while taxes on the rich should be raised. Yet facing down the military-industrial lobby is the vital first step to putting America’s fiscal house in order, needed to save the U.S., and possibly the world, from America’s perverse lobby-driven politics.”

Read on: https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/military-spending-debt-crisis

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

Plowshare Action Alert #55

May 17, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Jewish Voices for Peace:

Tell Congress: No Money for Child Detention, Home Demolition, or Annexation

Tell your member of Congress to become a cosponsor of Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s Palestinian Children & Families Act today. This legislation would ensure that no U.S. military funding to Israel can be used to support the Israeli military’s detention and torture of Palestinian children, the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and displacement of Palestinian families, or the illegal annexation of Palestinian land. Every single member of Congress should support this common-sense legislation. Take 30 seconds to write to your member of Congress now.

Link: https://act.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/a/no-money-child-detention-home-demolition-or-annexation

2. From the Giffords PAC:

Every child deserves to live free from violence. Our nation’s kids pay an enormous price for our weak gun laws. We must do better. We cannot spare another child lost to preventable gun violence. The time to act is now. Will you add your name today to say you support universal background checks for gun sales?

Link: https://go.giffords.org/signup/ads_ubcpetition_may23/

Similar petition from Forward Blue, to ban assault weapons: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/demand-that-congress-ban-assault-weapons-now

3. From the Peace in Ukraine Coalition and Experiential Peace Organizing Committee:

It’s time to stop the killing and devastation and urge a ceasefire & peace negotiations now! Sign the petition calling for an end to the war in Ukraine. After signing, help us spread the word by donating to our campaign to place the petition as a full-page ad in major publications. To build the movement needed to help end this calamitous war, we’ll need to reach more people. That’s why we’re raising funds to place this petition as a full-page ad in a major newspaper. Where it gets printed will depend on our fundraising efforts. We need lots of signatures to add to the list of peace-building organizations like Veterans for Peace, Codepink, RootsAction, World Beyond War, Extinction Rebellion US, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Progressive Democrats of America..

Link: https://defusenuclearwar.org/endthewarinukraine/

Link to donate for newspaper ad: https://defusenuclearwar.org/donatetopeaceinukraine/

4. From the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG):

Insurance companies must stop their practice of insuring infrastructure that pollutes our air and harms our climate. Global warming is making severe weather events both more frequent and more destructive, which means a higher chance of property owners’ deaths, injuries, property loss, property damage or diminished property values. Insurance companies often hike premiums to pass on the higher costs of claims to their customers, tightening household budgets and freezing more people out of the market entirely. Insurers such as Travelers are putting the financial well-being of homeowners, retirees, investors and small businesses at risk. If we convince Travelers to stop propping up polluting projects, it could lead to a domino effect across the industry. Please other citizen advocates in signing the petition:

Link: https://uspirg.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/

5. From RISE and Forward Blue:

Students and faculty at our nation’s colleges and universities should not have to live in fear, yet the gun lobby is pushing its gun fanaticism on colleges and universities forcing them to allow students, faculty, and staff to carry concealed and loaded guns on campus. Policies mandating colleges to allow guns on campus lead to more shootings, suicides, and homicides, and they don’t deter mass shootings. Gun violence is often portrayed as an unsolvable problem, but evidence suggests interventions like gun bans on college campuses can save lives! Please sign the petition for a national ban on campus carry:

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/take-action-no-guns-on-college-campuses

6. From CodePink:

At least 50 Palestinians, including 11 children, have been murdered by Israel this year. Despite this, you would never know the horrors of the occupation by attending a Birthright trip to Israel. Birthright is a free, 10-day trip to Israel offered to young Jews (18-32) to visit Israel and the Golan Heights. This trip is filled with propaganda and manufactures a false narrative about Israel, which gives its attendees a sense of ownership over Palestine – one that tells them that they are entitled to the land over indigenous Palestinians. That’s why CODEPINK is launching its “Boycott Birthright” campaign, targeting the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Jewish United Fund (JUF) in Chicago. Join us in telling these organizations to STOP funding Birthright by adding your name below.  

Link: https://www.codepink.org/jnfbirthright

Backgrounders

Status of the War on Terror

Will It Never Stop? From Forever War to Eternal War

by Karen J. Greenberg, via TomDispatch, April 11, 2023

 Excerpt:

“ The 2001 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which paved the way for the invasion of Afghanistan, gave the president essentially unlimited authority to take offensive action in the name of countering terrorism by not naming an enemy or providing any geographical or time limits. Since the fall of 2001, just as Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) predicted while casting the only vote against it, that AUMF has served as a presidential “blank check” when it comes to authorizing the use of force more or less anywhere. …

“Sadly enough, all of this prioritizes killing and destruction over life and true security. In none of it do our leaders seem to be able to imagine reaching any kind of peace without yet more weapons, more violence, more conflicts, and more death. Who even remembers when the First World War was known as “the war to end all wars”? Sadly, it seems that the era of Eternal War is now upon us. We should at least acknowledge that reality.”

– Karen J. Greenberg

Read on. Link: https://tomdispatch.com/will-it-never-stop/

MIC Lobbying

Warren Report Reveals Vast Pentagon-to-Defense Contractor Lobbying Pipeline:In 2021, there were at least 672 former government officials working for top defense contractors like Lockheed Martin

by Sharon Zhang, TRUTHOUT, April 27, 2023

Excerpt:

“According to the report released Wednesday, as of 2021, there were at least 672 former officials who were working for the top 20 defense contractors, with the vast majority — 91 percent — in positions lobbying the very government they formerly worked for. Officials who weren’t lobbyists were in top positions as board members or senior executives. The officials include former members of Congress, senior staffers and military officers.

“Perhaps not coincidentally, the companies that employed the most former government officials are also the companies who receive the most from the government in contracts.”

Read on. Link: https://truthout.org/articles/warren-report-reveals-vast-pentagon-to-defense-contractor-lobbying-pipeline/

Update on the War in Ukraine

Americas Role in Ukraine and in the World

Scott Horton interviewed by Judge Napolitano, May 12, 2023

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s conducted more than 5,400 interviews since 2003. He’s also the author of Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan (2017) and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004-2019 (2019). His articles have appeared in the American Conservative, The National Interest, Antiwar.com, the History News Network and the Christian Science Monitor. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Larisa. Scott Horton is knowledgeable about the facts of U.S. interventions since the 1990’s. This conversation should be shared as much as possible to refute the that claim Russia was “unprovoked”.

Plowshare Public Information Committee Members comments on this interview

“This was an excellent and informative summary of the war, got the timeline accurately, described the Obama administrations’s nefarious role, and describes the end game of US/NATO leaders.”

– Michael Bentley

“At over 200 pages with about 600 news items and reviews, my timeline has everything Horton talked about. I found the last 3 minutes of this video to be important. The fog of war is still pretty thick from where I’m sitting.”

– Frank Munley

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPYp_TwlK24 

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: 202-456-1111    https://whitehouse.gov/contact
           

CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #53

April 3, 2023

Dear Friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Roots Action Network:

There’s a chance to end one of our endless war — or at least to end the major role of the US in prolonging it. The House of Representatives is expected to debate and vote on H Con Res 21, a resolution introduced under the War Powers Resolution, and reading in its entirety:

“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Syria by not later than the date that is 180 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.”

The resolution has the support of the Progressive Caucus, fulfills a promise of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform, and is backed by a group of Republicans. The US military presence in Syria fuels conflict and impedes humanitarian aid. There’s no good reason not to pass this, but Congress will not pass it unless Congress Members know we are watching.

Link: https://rootsaction.org/vote-yes-on-ending-us-warmaking-in-syria

2. From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

The ties between international conservation and security have become clearer in recent years. Illegal exploitation of natural resources—such as wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing—has been linked to large-scale transnational criminal activities, fostering corruption, undermining the rule of law, and robbing developing countries of natural wealth and economic opportunities. Programs such as the USAID Biodiversity Program, programs at USAID and the Department of State to counter wildlife trafficking, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), USAID Sustainable Landscapes, USAID Global Health Security, the Multinational Species Conservation Fund (MSCF), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) International Affairs program and Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) are all important parts of the U.S. government’s response, providing on-the-ground resources in many of the most fragile ecosystems. Congress has consistently recognized the value of these programs for combating wildlife trafficking and protecting wildlife and biodiversity as a form of “natural security” as it makes budget decisions. The biodiversity and climate crises go hand in hand—if we don’t work to protect high ecological integrity, we will fall short on global goals to build resilience and mitigate temperature rise. These programs also conserve vulnerable species in the wild, protect the landscapes and seascapes that represent the last remaining wild places on the earth, and provide security and livelihoods to local and Indigenous Peoples who directly depend on natural resources for their survival and economic growth. Please call on your representative in Congress to sign the letters circulating in the House asking for funding for these programs:

Link: https://secure.wcs.org/campaign/state-union-appropriations

3. From Episcopal Peace Fellowship:

A group of ten churches and church-based organizations joined together this week in sending a letter to the Biden administration and Congress calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and action to hold Israel accountable for ongoing gross violations of Palestinian rights. The US is complicit in Israeli violence. 

Action letter to copy and send to your representatives to end to unconditional U.S. military aid to Israel:

If a just and lasting peace is to be realized in Israel and Palestine, U.S. policy must change. The start of 2023 has been deadly for Palestinians. An Israeli military attack in Jenin on Jan. 26 killed at least 10 and another Israeli raid on Nablus on Feb. 22 killed at least 11 more Palestinians, including one child. This follows two months of escalating Israeli violence in the West Bank. Since the start of the year, at least 65 Palestinians, including 14 children, were killed by the Israeli military. Oppressive measures announced by the new Israeli government threaten to exacerbate violence. The new government came to power on a platform of explicit supremacy, stating that only Israeli Jews have a right to sovereignty in the land located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This runs directly counter to the peace positions supported by the U.S. government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers have promised to expand existing settlements, “legalize” outposts built on Palestinian land, and establish new settlements—all while moving to formally annex the West Bank to Israel. 

  Thousands of Palestinians are being forcibly displaced as their homes, schools, and infrastructure are being demolished in Area B and C of the West Bank and in Jerusalem. New settlements are being approved, settlers have started to set up new illegal outposts, and attacks by settlers on Palestinians are a daily occurrence.  These actions directly contradict the Aqaba Joint Communique which Israel signed with Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. less than a month ago. Oppressive measures by the new government is not limited to the occupied Palestinian territory. It has also taken steps to undermine the rule of law in Israel and directly threaten the rights of women, LGTBQ communities, and Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. For this reason, I am asking that the U.S. take immediate action to end violence and to realize a just and lasting peace for all Palestinians and Israelis. Pressure must be placed on Israel to change its behavior and stop violating human rights. That’s why U.S. military funding to Israel, which sustains Israel’s occupation and violence, must end. I therefore urge you to take action to end all U.S. military assistance to Israel. It is immoral for the U.S. to continue supporting Israeli oppression and violence against Palestinians.

Link: https://epfnational.org

4. From the Climate Reality Project:

The newly-introduced HR 1 bill – unofficially called the “Polluters Over People Act,” which says it all – is a sweeping attack on this country’s bedrock environmental laws and an unequivocal rejection of every principle of environmental justice. It is a giveaway to enrich Big Oil and Gas at the expense of communities on the front lines – from the attacks on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to removing several key programs passed in the Inflation Reduction Act to mandating new quarterly oil and gas lease sales.  The Polluters Over People Act seeks to lock in the worst and most egregious fossil fuel extraction activities for decades to come, while shutting down our clean energy boom here at home. Please let your representatives hear from you that you oppose bills like this which benefit Big Oil – at a time when the fossil fuel industry is already experiencing record profits and expansion -at the expense of our communities and cut valuable investments in good jobs, clean energy, and our country’s future. :

Link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/action/tell-your-representatives-vote-no-hr1

5. From Ecō:

The number of mass shootings has almost doubled compared with this time last year. Last year, the House passed a bill banning assault weapons on the federal level, and members of the Senate recently introduced a similar bill. A similar federal ban was passed in the 1990s — we can do it again. When a federal ban on assault weapons was implemented in the 1990s, the number of gun massacre deaths decreased by 37% and then sharply increased by 183% after the ban expired. An assault weapons ban won’t solve the gun violence epidemic entirely — addressing the mental health crisis is also a serious concern. But a ban would significantly help keep our children safe and alive. Put pressure on Congress to finally act. Sign now, and share this widely.:

Link: https://actions.eko.org/a/ban-assault-weapons-now

6. From the National Wildlife Federation:

Ask your representatives to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Today, over one-third of fish and wildlife species in the United States are at increased risk of extinction. As threats from habitat loss, invasive species, and increasing temperatures harm vulnerable wildlife, these problems will only continue to grow. Saving species like the American kestrel requires collaborative, on-the-ground solutions that match the magnitude of the wildlife crisis. The good news is that wildlife champions in the U.S. Senate have just introduced the most important wildlife conservation legislation in half a century. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide states, territories, and Tribes the funding needed to enact conservation strategies that would help recover at-risk wildlife and prevent more species from becoming endangered.

This bill is gaining momentum in the Senate with bipartisan support—

Link:  https://support.nwfactionfund.org/page/50697/action/1

Backgrounders

Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq

  • Washington’s victory in Iraq did not liberate but imprisoned the country in warfare: Two decades after the US war on Iraq began, the disastrous consequences of the conflict are still being felt

By Michael Jansen, The Irish Times, March 19, 2023

Excerpt:
“Casualties were greatly disproportionate, angering the Arabs. The US lost 4,480 soldiers and 3,400 contractors during the Mar 20-May 1st war and its allies suffered 318 military deaths. Between 110,000-150,000 Iraqis were killed during the US-led attack and overall, there were one million conflict-related deaths, the US Rand organization reported.

“Many Iraqis left their country after the US occupation. Some 95 per cent remained in the region. According to the UN, 700,000 fled to Jordan and 1.2 million to Syria. Egypt, the Gulf Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon received tens of thousands. Iraq lost 40 per cent of its middle class.

“Washington’s victory in Iraq did not liberate but imprisoned Iraq in warfare. After US viceroy L Paul Bremer III demobilised the Iraqi army, dismissed the civil service and outlawed the ousted Baath Party, soldiers and Baathists joined forces with al-Qaeda to mount an insurgency. Pro-Iranian Shia militias and the Iraqi nationalist Mahdi Army attacked US troops and Sunni communities until the US and Sunni allies put down the revolt in 2007-08.

“Meanwhile al-Qaeda offspring Islamic State, also known as Isis, took root in Iraq and, after 2012, joined the conflict in neighbouring Syria where it established a caliphate, swept into Iraq, and ruled 40 per cent of the country until ousted in 2017.

“Democracy promised by Bush produced a takeover by pro-Iranian Shia fundamentalist expatriates who returned to Iraq after the war. They benefited from the US-imposed sectarian system of governance, which has survived six flawed elections.”

Read more. Link: https://www.irishtimes.com/world/middle-east/2023/03/19/washingtons-victory-in-iraq-did-not-liberate-but-imprisoned-the-country-in-warfare/

  • The Lords of Chaos: The politicians and shills in the media who orchestrated 20 years of military debacles in the Middle East, and who seek a world dominated by U.S. power, must be held accountable for their crimes.

By Chris Hedges, The Chris Hedges Report, March 19, 2023

Excerpt;

“There is no accurate count of lives lost, estimates in Iraq alone range from hundreds of thousands to over a million. Some 7,000 U.S. service members died in our post 9/11 wars, with over 30,000 later committing suicide, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

“Yes, Saddam Hussein was brutal and murderous, but in terms of a body count, we far outstripped his killings, including his genocidal campaigns against the Kurds. We destroyed Iraq as a unified country, devastated its modern infrastructure, wiped out its thriving and educated middle class, gave birth to rogue militias and installed a kleptocracy that uses the country’s oil revenues to enrich itself. Ordinary Iraqis are impoverished. Hundreds of Iraqis protesting in the streets against the kleptocracy have been gunned down by police. There are frequent power outages. The Shi’ite majority, closely allied with Iran, dominates the country.

“The occupation of Iraq, beginning 20 years ago today, turned the Muslim world and the Global South against us. The enduring images we left behind from two decades of war include President Bush standing under a “Mission Accomplished” banner onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier barely one month after he invaded Iraq, the bodies of Iraqis in Fallujah that were burned with white phosphorus and the photos of torture by U.S. soldiers.

“The U.S. is desperately attempting to use Ukraine to repair its image. But the rank hypocrisy of calling for “a rules-based international order” to justify the $113 billion in arms and other aid that the U.S. has committed to send to Ukraine, won’t work. It ignores what we did. We might forget, but the victims do not. The only redemptive path is charging Bush, Cheney and the other architects of the wars in the Middle East, including Joe Biden, as war criminals in the International Criminal Court. Haul Russian President Vladimir Putin off to The Hague, but only if Bush is in the cell next to him.”

Read more. Link: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-lords-of-chaos

On the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict

  • No, Mr. Smotrich, Palestinians are not New in History, and all Nationalisms are Modern, including the Israeli

            By Juan Cole, 3-22-2023

Excerpt:

“The trick of right-wing Israeli rhetoric in saying that Palestinians had no nation until the early twentieth century is that nationalism as an identity and a form of political organization is a recent phenomenon in history, though the elements out of which it is fashioned are ancient. Most people in the world as late as 1900 lived in empires, and this is true both of Palestinians and of Jews.

“There was no Italy until 1861, and no Germany until 1871. Dialects varied so widely that people from different regions could not understand one another. In 1800 only two percent of people living in the Italian peninsula spoke what we would now call Italian. Sicilians and Venetians could not understand one another and lived under different governments. Historian Eric Hobsbawm pointed out that people think that nations create states, but in fact, states create nations.”

Read more. Link: https://www.juancole.com/2023/03/palestinians-nationalisms-including.html

Update on the climate crisis

The new UN climate report airs the dirty truth about fossil fuels: It seems scientists are sick of being ignored.

By Genevieve Guenther, founding director of End Climate Silence, Mar 22, 2023

Excerpt:

“Climate change is an enormous, overwhelmingly complex problem, but it is also very simple. It is caused mainly by one activity: burning fossil fuels — coal, oil and methane gas. So you would think fossil fuels are always at the forefront of how scientists communicate about the climate crisis to the public. But no. This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its 2023 Synthesis Report, summarizing the latest scientific knowledge about the climate crisis. For the first time in the IPCC’s history, a headline statement of its summary for policymakers declared that the world already has too many fossil fuels in production to limit global warming to the relatively safe level of 1.5 degrees Celsius. As this global body of scientists put it, “projected CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fuel infrastructure without additional abatement would exceed the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C.”

Read more. Link: https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/ipcc-un-climate-change-fossil-fuels-rcna75909

Summary of the IPCC’s Sixth Summary: https://www.axios.com/2023/03/20/ipcc-report-global-warming-narrow-window

 CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

CONTACT the WHITE HOUSE: https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

Plowshare Action Alert #52

March 8, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear Friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

1. From The Intercept:

It takes enormous courage to come forward as a whistleblower alleging wrongdoing or corruption by the U.S. government. Often, these brave souls are fired, demoted, ostracized, or attacked in the media for revealing information in the public interest. At worst, whistleblowers can face serious criminal charges — and sometimes years in prison.

            It isn’t supposed to be this way. Under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, the Department of Justice established a series of rights and resources designed to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, including a national hotline under the Office of Inspector General.

            Despite the critical importance of whistleblowers, both the Obama and Trump administrations found a workaround and dramatically stepped up prosecutions using a different law: the Espionage Act, a wartime law from 1917. Espionage Act prosecutions do not allow whistleblowers to explain their motives or make a public interest defense. Judges have even barred juries in these cases from hearing the words “overclassification,” “whistleblower,” and “First Amendment.”

            Prosecuting those who shine a light on government abuses is harmful to the public interest and an affront to freedom of speech. It’s time for the Justice Department to protect whistleblowers, not lock them up. Will you add your name to tell the Department of Justice to stop prosecuting whistleblowers now?

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/tell-the-department-of-justice-stop-muzzling-whistleblowers-and-journalists-with-the-espionage-act

2. From Blue Amp Action:

ExxonMobil just announced that it had $56 billion in profits in 2022 alone. That comes out to $6.3 million per hour, or more than $100,000 per minute. Exxon’s news follows announcements that Pfizer raked in $31.4 billion in profit and Chevron ended 2022 with more than $36 billion in profit. At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to get by and put food on the table, it’s obscene for big corporations to be price gouging consumers in order to maximize profit. Tell Congress: Pass a windfall profits tax to rein in excessive corporate profits.:

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-to-tax-excessive-corporate-profits/

3. From The Climate Reality Project:

Shareholder season is the time of year when every publicly traded company in America has their annual general meeting where investors vote on a variety of proposals introduced by fellow shareholders. This April and May, investors in Wall Street banks and insurance companies will vote on at least four shareholder proposals related to climate justice and Indigenous rights. These votes are some of the most important climate votes that you’ve never heard of. It’s critical that state treasurers and public pensions vote YES on these critical resolutions. Add your name to take action now. 

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-demand-that-state-treasurers-and-public-pensions-vote-for-climate-justice-and-indigenous-rights-this-spring

4. From Roots Action:

The Saudi-U.S. war on Yemen has killed many more people than the war in Ukraine thus far, and the death and suffering continue despite a temporary truce. Sen. Bernie Sanders backed off on forcing a vote to end U.S. participation, but President Biden has not ended U.S. participation. Nor has the president stopped providing Saudi Arabia with weapons, much less kept his campaign promise to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah state. Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you right now:

Link: https://rootsaction.org/end-the-war-on-yemen

5. From Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund:

Prior to passage of the Trump-GOP tax cuts, which handed windfall tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, Republicans and corporate CEOs claimed that businesses would use their new-found wealth to invest in their workforces―increasing wages and expanding operations.

In the five years since, corporations have spent $4.2 trillion of their new-found wealth on stock buybacks—money that could have been used to raise workers’ wages, invest in workplace protections and public safety, and lower costs for consumers. Stock buybacks mostly enrich top corporate executives and other wealthy shareholders. That’s because about 90% of all corporate stock is owned by the richest 10% of Americans; over half is owned by the top 1%. Moreover, the boost in share prices caused by stock buybacks are not taxed unless the investor sells the underlying shares. Often the shares are never sold and the gain is never taxed.

            In 2017, the year before the Trump Tax scam took effect, corporations spent $519 billion on stock buybacks. In 2022, stock buybacks more than doubled, reaching a record high $1.2 trillion. In the news this month is Norfolk Southern, which―after announcing $10 billion in stock buybacks to enrich its executives and shareholders―is now responsible for a train derailment that has caused the evacuation of the town of East Palestine, Ohio, after 50 cars went off the track, carrying hazardous chemicals. Railroad Workers United called the massive accident “years in the making” with one journalist calling the catastrophe “a predictable consequence of Wall Street-backed policy decisions that have hollowed out the industry’s workforce, pushed remaining employees to chronic exhaustion and sacrificed safety for profits.”

            Some of the worst corporate actors that utilize stock buybacks are also price gougers and union busters. Last year ExxonMobil made a record $56 billion in profits from sky-high gas prices in the midst of a global energy crisis; it then spent $15 billion of those profits, or more than one-quarter, on share repurchases. Chevron had record earnings of $35.5 billion in 2022 and announced it will be spending $75 billion more on stock buybacks. Starbucks has bought back more than $30 billion in stock over the past decade while simultaneously refusing to negotiate with unionized workers and denying workers benefits. Home Depot has bought back $74 billion worth of stock over the past decade while resisting worker efforts to organize, including squashing a union vote in Northeast Philadelphia.

            Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced the Stock Buyback Accountability Act of 2023 to place a 4% tax on stock buybacks to discourage corporations from inflating their stock price and allowing investors to avoid taxes, and to encourage corporations to invest in workers. Send a message to your senators and urge them to become co-sponsors of the Stock Buyback Accountability Act to hold greedy corporations accountable:

Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senators-become-a-co-sponsor-of-the-stock-buyback-accountability-act-of-2023

6. From The Intercept on the persecution and prosecution of journalist Julian Assange:

Oppose the prosecution of Julian Assange. Australian publisher Julian Assange is a political prisoner. After being abducted out of the Ecuadorian embassy, he has languished in Belmarsh prison for nearly four years. In the intervening time, press freedom groups, major newspapers, and civil libertarians have all condemned the US’s charges against Assange. After years of grassroots advocacy, some members of Congress are starting to speak out. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is currently circulating a sign-on letter calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop the charges against Assange. Other members of Congress can join the letter, but this is an issue that demands courage. They need to hear from you, their constituents. Please ask your members of Congress to join Rep. Tlaib’s effort. The future of the First Amendment is at stake!\

Link: https://rightsanddissent.salsalabs.org/assange-congressional-letter/index.html

Backgrounders

Conflict with Cuba on Guantanamo Base

For 120 years the US has illegally occupied 117 sq km of Cuban national territory against the will of the Cuban people and government. The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to this day continues to be a perpetrator of racial, and religious injustice, abuse and disregard for the most basic rules of international law. Plowshare Peace Center calls for the U.S. government to #returnGuantanamoNOW and end this violations of human rights. 

 As Dr. King said, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal” and that time is overdue for us in relation to Guantanamo Base. George W. Bush transferred over 500 prisoners out of Guantánamo. Barack Obama transferred ~200 men, and said he would shut the prison down, but failed. Donald Trump reversed course and kept the prison open. Joe Biden has all the authority he needs to close Guantánamo. It’s up to President Biden to fulfill his pledge to finally close Guantánamo Base.

Learn more. Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/12/guantanamo-at-21-advocates-renew-calls-for-closing-prison

AP: UN votes overwhelmingly to condemn US sanctions on Cuba

 Link” https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-business-cuba-israel-europe-bf38ea2b62324cbd9ed3ce10905883d8

To learn more about the effect of sanctions on Cuba, consider attending online this weekend’s Cuba Normalization Conference at Fordham University. All plenary and workshop sessions live streamed across the US, intending to educate, organize, and mobilize against Washington’s economic and political war against Cuba – demanding:

  • Take Cuba off Washington’s List of State-Sponsors of Terrorism!
    • End the US Blockade of Cuba!
    • End All US Anti-Cuba Economic and Travel Sanctions!

Program SATURDAY, MARCH 11 9am EST onwards

Link: https://www.us-cubanormalization.org/viva-cuba/inter-us-cubanormalization-conference/

Occupation of Palestine

Haaretz: ‘Israel has erected “a formal, full-fledged apartheid regime”’

MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

2-8-2023

“…transferring control from the military admiration to a civilian authority has major ramifications. According to Haaretz, it will constitute a de jure annexation of the occupied West Bank. …
“This, added the newspaper, is a “severe breach international law.” Major human rights organizations have already concluded that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem.”

Read more. Link: https://www.juancole.com/2023/02/haaretz-erected-apartheid.html

‘Flashback: American media distortion on Palestine’

by Alison Weir, Israel-Palestinian News from If Americans Knew

3-5-2023

“I was unaware that our nation has vetoed numerous United Nations efforts to reign in Israeli aggression; resolutions that were supported by almost every other country around the world. I was unaware that US actions were enabling a massive land theft and ongoing ethnic cleansing that has caused profound tragedy in the Middle East, deep damage to our own nation and endangered American lives.

“My personal awakening to these facts and others began in the autumn of 2000 when the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada began and was, for a while at least, in the American news. I grew curious about this conflict, determined to follow the news on it, and noticed quickly how one-sided the news coverage appeared to be. While we heard from and about Israelis frequently, the Palestinian side seemed to be largely glossed over at minimum, and was sometimes completely hidden.

“I began searching for additional information on the Internet and was astounded at what I learned. Israeli forces were killing hundreds of largely unarmed Palestinian men, women and children; many of the children were being killed by gunshot wounds to the head. …”

Read more. Link: https://israelpalestinenews.org/flashback-american-media-distortion-on-palestine-by-alison-weir/

Ukraine

On Mar. 7, 2023, the Roanoke Times published Michael Bentley’s commentary on the Ukraine War. It can be accessed at: https://roanoke.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-diplomacy-not-munitions-is-the-way-to-end-war-for-ukraine/article_9d42de18-b9df-11ed-a505-134a13ffdf9e.html

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

            CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: https://whitehouse.gov/contact
            CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter

Plowshare Action Alert #51

February 24, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear Friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.


1. From Virginia NAACP:

Voting rights advancements that we have fought for in Virginia are under attack! The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections (P&E) will soon consider bills that have passed through the House of Delegates at this midway point of the General Assembly session. These dangerous bills seek to eliminate drop boxes used to receive absentee ballots, shrink the 45-day early voting window to just two weeks, eliminate permanent absentee voter lists, and reinstate mandatory voter ID. Take action! Contact the Senators on P&E and tell them to vote no on these bills. Let’s not take away voting conveniences that Virginians  have used to vote. Make it easier, not more difficult for people to vote.  OPPOSE HB1377 (Greenhalgh), HB1444 (Ware), HB 1693 (McGuire), HB1877 (Scott), HB1947 (Bloxom), AND HB2234 (Wachsmann).

Link: https://secure.everyaction.com/0xoKRFDzl0W-debgI49CGg2

2. From Southern Environmental Law Center:

Virginia was the first state in the South to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The program has worked to reduce air pollution in member states. Just two years into participation, RGGI has proven to be a great deal for Virginia—reducing air pollution from power plants while providing critical funding to Virginians. Yet Virginia’s participation in RGGI is in peril thanks to efforts by the Youngkin administration  to leave the programs to cast their ballots. Make voting easier in VA rather than harder. by repealing the underlying regulation. This proposed action is inconsistent with the law that brought Virginia into RGGI and ignores the real benefits of Virginia’s participation.  As the state’s Air Pollution Control Board seeks to overstep its authority and repeal the successful program, communities and individuals around the state must act and speak up to let the board know their actions will not be accepted without a fight:

Link: https://act.southernenvironment.org/dBKgML0

3. From The Plastic Pollution Coalition:

Tell world leaders that we need a strong global plastics treaty. On March 2, 2022, the UN approved a landmark agreement to create a global plastics pollution treaty. As countries enter the negotiation phase, keep up the pressure to ensure the resulting treaty creates more equitable systems to prevent and stop plastic pollution.

For the Global Plastics Treaty to be effective in reversing the tide of plastic pollution and contributing to the end of the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, we call on governments to ensure that the emerging instrument includes: Significant, progressive, and mandatory targets to cap and dramatically reduce virgin plastic production, legally binding, time-bound and ambitious targets to implement and scale up reuse, refill, and alternative product delivery systems, a just transition to safer and more sustainable livelihoods for workers and communities across the plastics supply chain, and provisions that hold polluting corporations and plastic producing countries accountable.

Link:  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/the-world-demands-an-ambitious-global-treaty-to-end-the-age-of-plastic

4. From Sandy Hook Promise:

Tell Congress: Stop Assault Weapon Sales. Twenty-six children  were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary by a shooter who used an AR-15 assault-style weapon. When the shooter paused to reload, 11 children were able to escape. That’s why prohibiting the sale and transfer of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is so important. Every time a shooter must pause to reload, there is an opportunity for lives to be saved. Please sign our petition right now to tell Congress to immediately stop the sale of assault weapons to help save lives

.

Link:  https://takeaction.sandyhookpromise.org/a/ads-assault-weapons

5. From the Natural Resources Defense Council:

We need to protect Jefferson National Forest from the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Building MVP through our public forest would threaten the integrity of the forest and expose frontline communities—and the water they depend on—to a wide array of environmental dangers.

Take action today to urge the US Forest Service to reject construction on this dangerous fracked gas project!

Link:  https://action.nrdc.org/letter/1409-mountain-valley-pipeline-comment-011923

6. From Appalachian Voices:

The EPA is updating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter, also known as PM 2.5. PM 2.5 is a lethal combination of metals, organic matter, acids and other substances so tiny that they can be inhaled and delivered directly into the bloodstream. These airborne pollutants are emitted by power plants and numerous other industries. In many Appalachian communities, coal mine dust is a source of dangerous levels of particulate matter.

EPA has proposed replacing the current PM 2.5 annual average standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter with a new standard somewhere between 9 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter. For reference, the World Health Organization suggests exposure be limited to 5 micrograms per cubic meter, and EPA’s own scientific advisors point out that a standard of 8 micrograms per cubic meter would prevent about 5,000 more premature deaths each year as compared to 9 micrograms per cubic meter. The proposed rule is a step in the right direction, but by taking such tepid action, EPA Administrator Michael Regan is ignoring the growing chorus of public health experts, advocates and ordinary Americans calling on the EPA to follow the science and set the standard no higher than 8 micrograms per cubic meter. Join Appalachian Voices and other advocates in calling on the EPA to put people’s health above polluters’ profits and strengthen the particulate matter standard.

Link: https://appvoices.org/end-mountaintop-removal/health-impacts/epa_dust_and_soot_2023/

7. From Roots Action:

The train that derailed in Eastern Ohio that is big news, is big news because it was carrying toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that exploded into flames. The government and railway officials made the questionable decision to “burn off” vinyl chloride, sending 1.1 million pounds of the carcinogen into the community, a decision quite possibly driven by cost and profit considerations. The train was not classified as a high-hazard flammable train, so Norfolk Southern did not have to tell anyone what was in it. This meant that firefighters and first responders did not know what they were dealing with. The train was not equipped with electronic brakes. The train was 1.7 miles long but had a crew of only two, plus a trainee. If this all sounds unacceptable, click here to demand better going forward..

Link: https://rootsaction.org/take-these-steps-on-ohio-train-wreck

Backgrounders

Update on the War in Ukraine

As Putin Suspends New START Treaty, Is There Still Hope for Nuclear Disarmament?

Democracy Now! Interview of Dr. Ira Helfand, former president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, member of the international steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, as well as the co-founder and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Feb. 22, 2023 (audio, 17 min)

Russia is suspending its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement with the United States. The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (signed in 2017 and effective since January 2021) is the best treaty yet for limiting nuclear weapons and has provisions for mutual verifications. It creates some protection against nuclear war. Please contact President Biden and your legislators in Congress and urge them to act to stop further escalations of this war and promote diplomacy. You will be able to leave a recorded message if no one is available to take your call.

View interview: Link:  https://www.democracynow.org/2023/2/22/putin_new_start_treaty

Seymour Hersh – How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline

In this video, journalist and author Fabian Scheidler interviews Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh about his latest article, “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.” 

Fabian Scheidler is author of the book, The End of the Megamachine. A Brief History of a Failing Civilization (https://www.end-of-the-megamachine.com/)

Feb.. 15, 2023

Watch video: Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQMdQLjI-Tk

Read Seymour Hersh’s Feb. 8, 2023 essay: Link:  https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/how-america-took-out-the-nord-stream

Here is a Feb. 21, 2023 Reuter’s article on the same topic:

Russia suspends participation in New START

“President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday delivered a warning to the West over Ukraine by suspending a landmark nuclear arms control treaty, announcing that new strategic systems had been put on combat duty, and threatening to resume nuclear tests… Russia’s foreign ministry said later on Tuesday that Moscow intended to continue abiding by the restrictions outlined in the treaty on the number of warheads it could have deployed.”

The treaty, which allows inspections, is due to expire in 2026, “although tensions over Ukraine had already brought inspections to a halt.” The article cites Putin’s understanding of the West’s war: “‘They intend to transform a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation,’ he said. ‘This is exactly how we understand it all and we will react accordingly, because in this case we are talking about the existence of our country.’” Putin warned that Russia would do what is necessary for strategic parity, charging, according to the article, that “some in Washington were considering breaking a moratorium on nuclear testing”:  “‘A week ago, I signed a decree on putting new ground-based strategic systems on combat duty.’ It was not immediately clear which systems he meant. “Putin said Ukraine had sought to strike a facility deep inside Russia where it keeps nuclear bombers, a reference to the Engels air base.”

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/putin-update-russias-elite-ukraine-war-major-speech-2023-02-21/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:

            CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS

Phone Numbers:

Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023

Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative

            CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: https://whitehouse.gov/contact
            CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov

PLOWSHARE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015

plowshare@plowshareva.org

https://www.facebook.com/PlowsharePeaceAndJusticeCenter


Plowshare Action Alert #50
February 3, 2023

Plowshare Peace Center Public Information Committee

Dear friends,

The following petitions are actions that are quick and easy to take to support what we believe are worthy causes. Please share this Plowshare ‘Action Alert’ with others.

1. from the Sierra Club:

Oil and gas leasing on our public lands directly undercuts President Biden’s ambitious climate goals. Despite this, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has continued to propose new lease sales in 2023, including:

95,420 acres in Wyoming
16,691 acres in Utah
Hundreds of acres across Nebraska, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Michigan

We need to tell the BLM that more oil and gas leasing and drilling is the exact opposite of what we must do to address the climate crisis. It furthers our dependence on fossil fuels, places Black, Brown, Indigenous, and frontline communities at higher risk of unacceptable health and environmental consequences, and irreparably harms wildlife and natural public lands. Tell the BLM that we must end oil and gas leasing and drilling on public lands! Be sure to include a personal note about why this issue is important to you. Your comments will be delivered to state and national offices of the BLM. Link: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National

2. from Appalachian Voices and Virginia Chapter Sierra Club:

Tell Your State Reps: Oppose attacks on climate progress. Virginia’s state legislative session is now underway, and we know one thing for sure: every major climate policy is in jeopardy.  

Laws that hold polluters accountable are on the chopping block. Funding to strengthen our communities most impacted by a changing climate is at risk. Commitments to our 100% clean energy transition are in jeopardy. Governor Youngkin is using his position to push an aggressive anti-climate and anti-health agenda. He wants to repeal every major climate policy in Virginia, especially policies that transition away from fossil fuels and reduce air and tailpipe pollution. Tell your state lawmaker that Virginians can’t afford Youngkin’s anti-climate agenda!:  Link: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/virginia

3. from Only One:

At the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, there was once an ecosystem full of life. Then, in 1989, scientists tested a deep-sea mining simulation, and it wrecked the surrounding ecosystems beyond repair. The area remains lifeless more than 20 years later. If we do not take action, deep-sea mining will move beyond testing in 2023 and cause irreversible destruction at a massive scale to untouched ecosystems.

Add your name to stop deep-sea mining today and help prevent this tragedy before it begins. Link: https://only.one/act/mining

4. from Oxfam:

Tell Pres. Biden and Congress: Tax the rich and make them pay their fair share. The richest 1 percent globally have captured nearly two-thirds of all new wealth since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population.  Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7 billion a day while crushing inflation outpaces the wages of 1.7 billion workers.

Decades of tax cuts for the richest and corporations have fueled inequality, with the poorest people in many countries paying higher tax rates than billionaires. Oxfam is demanding wide-ranging increases in taxation of the super-rich, and we call on President Biden, Congress, and world governments to tax the extraordinary wealth of multi-millionaires and billionaires. 

Increased taxes on the wealthiest individuals could lift people out of poverty, address the climate crisis, fund childcare, and create well-paying jobs. We urge you to join Oxfam’s global community and make the ultra-rich pay their fair share of taxes. Link: https://act.oxfamamerica.org/page/48180/subscribe/1/

5. from Virginia League of Conservation Voters:

A strong majority of Virginians want to see our state taking action to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy, which includes staying in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a highly successful program that’s slashing power plant pollution while returning millions of dollars to the Commonwealth to combat flooding and lower energy costs.

Unfortunately, Governor Youngkin’s moving forward to side-step Virginia’s legislature and pull Virginia out of this program through a rigged regulatory process – efforts that will take us backwards on climate action while robbing Virginia of vital resources that keep communities safe while cutting energy bills. A public comment period kicked off on Jan. 30 and will run until March 31 – we need as many concerned Virginians as possible to weigh in and tell this Administration that you oppose their reckless attacks on climate action! Sign our petition and tell Youngkin you want to see Virginia stay the course on climate action: Link: https://valcv.org/actions/sign-the-petition-oppose-youngkins-illegal-rggi-repeal/

6. from Win Without War:

The Biden administration is seeking public comment on a federal rule that would require government contractors — including the defense industry — to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and for the worst offenders to release a plan to reduce emissions in line with Paris Agreement levels. This rule is a critical first step in holding weapons contractors accountable for their impact on the environment.

So far, many of the comments have come from industry groups in opposition to the rule. That’s why it’s so important that we speak out in support of this critical step towards transparency and accountability. By adding our voices to the conversation, we can help improve the chances of this rule being implemented — and there’s no time for delay because the comment period ends February 13. Link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/submit-your-comment-hold-weapons-contractors-accountable-for-climate-change

7. also from Win Without War:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to strip Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) is petty, punitive, and wildly partisan. Omar is a progressive champion in Congress. She brings unparalleled lived experience to the committee as a Somali-born refugee, and she is the first ever African-born member to sit on the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights in the history of the US. A skilled legislator, she has introduced the Pathway to PEACE, a package of several pieces of legislation to re-center human rights and justice in U.S. foreign policy. This includes the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act, which bans security assistance to countries that violate international human rights law, and the Global Migration Agreement Act, which instructs the State Department to pursue the adoption of a binding global pledge to address migration causes and fund crisis responses. If all Democrats and just a few Republicans vote down this anti-democratic move, we can keep a key progressive champion on a committee vital to our work. Sign now to help support Omar’s HFAC seat! Link: https://act.winwithoutwar.org/act/support-rep-omars-seat-hfac

8. from Code Pink:

President Biden should want to resolve the war in Ukraine that risks, according to the President’s own words, “nuclear Armageddon.” Instead, the President is sending Ukraine 31 high-powered battlefield tanks, the Abrams M-1 by General Dynamics, which will only escalate the war with Russia. And already, Ukraine’s President Zelensky is saying the tanks aren’t enough–the U.S. must send fighter jets– moving us even closer to WWIII. Tell your members of Congress to oppose the tanks and more weapons for Ukraine because there is no military solution. We need a ceasefire and negotiated settlement! Link: https://www.codepink.org/ukrainetanks

9. from Virginia Conservation Network

2023 Virginia General Assembly Advocacy Guide and Resources:
Upcoming events and actions, General Assembly 101 Advocacy Video, General Assembly FAQ
Link: https://vcnva.org/general-assembly-advocacy-guide/

Backgrounders

Update on Venezuela

In Venezuela, the US Recognizes a Nonexistent Government
From AntiWar.com
Jan. 25, 2023

In Venezuela, the US recognizes a nonexistent government. In a piece of bizarre political theater, the US now officially recognizes a government in Venezuela that does not exist. In an October 6, 2022 meeting of the Organization of American States, only the US, Canada, Guatemala and Paraguay supported Guaidó as the legitimate head of state. State Department spokesman Ned Price now states, “we continue to recognize what is the only remaining democratically elected institution in Venezuela today, and that’s the 2015 National Assembly.” But even the Venezuelan opposition recognizes the 2020 National Assembly election as legitimate.

Read more. Link: https://original.antiwar.com/Ted_Snider/2023/01/24/in-venezuela-the-us-recognizes-a-nonexistent-government/

Update on the War in Ukraine

Ukraine: The War that Went Wrong
By Chris Hedges
Jan. 30, 2023 (audio, 17 min)

NATO support for the war in Ukraine, designed to degrade the Russian military and drive Vladimir Putin from power, is not going according to plan. The new sophisticated military hardware won’t help.

Listen now: Link: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/listen-to-this-article-ukraine-the

Ukraine Trough the US Looking Glass
By Robert Parry
Jan. 27, 2023

On the 5th anniversary of his death, Consortium News republishes one of Parry’s many prescient articles on Ukraine, this one on the risks of ignoring the 2014 coup, the neo-Nazis’s role and the war against coup resisters in the east.

Read more: Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/01/27/robert-parry-ukraine-through-the-us-looking-glass/

Can the Military-Industrial-Complex be Tamed?
By William Astore, professor of history and retired lieutenant colonel, senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network
Jan. 31, 2023

“Currently, Americans are giving the Pentagon all it wants — plus some. And how’s that been working out for the rest of us? Isn’t it finally time for us to exercise real oversight, as Ike challenged us to do in 1961? Isn’t it time to force the Pentagon to pass an audit each year — it’s failed the last five! — or else cut its budget even more deeply? Isn’t it time to hold Congress truly responsible for enabling ever more war by voting out military sycophants? Isn’t it time to recognize, as America’s founders did, that sustaining a vast military establishment constitutes the slow and certain death of democracy?”

Read more. Link: https://tomdispatch.com/can-the-military-industrial-complex-be-tamed/

GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFO:
CONTACT YOUR REPS AND SENATORS
Phone Numbers:
Senator Kaine (202) 224-4024
Senator Warner (202) 224-2023
Dial 888-997-5380 to be connected to other Senators
Dial 917-791-2257 to be connected to your Representative
CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE: https://whitehouse.gov/contact
CONTACT the Virginia General Assembly: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov