Monday, April 30, 2018

Peace Action Manhattan April 2018


Peace Action Manhattan

Spring 2018
Educate * Organize * Resist

D.C. Organizers Conference 2018
As we continue the struggle against the forces of fear, ignorance and darkness, we continue to reach out to others.  The consolidation of commercial media, and the consolidation of money and war power inside our government, cast such a dark shadow over our consciousness that we must join together to shine a brighter light for peace, progress and good will among ourselves and into the world.
The Peace Action National Organizers Conference in Washington DC this February brought together chapter leaders from around the country for this purpose.  Joining organizers from at
least ten states were students representing several of the eighteen PANYS college campus chapters.
Among all our concerns, three issues emerged as the most salient actions urgently requiring our energetic attention:
1.     Ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war on  the people of Yemen;
2.    Ending the policy of first use of nuclear weapons; and
3.    Opposing war and supporting diplomacy with North Korea.
These arose from the ongoing quest to end all Middle East wars, eliminate all nuclear weapons, and reduce military spending by fifty percent, and to better fund responsible social spending.
We lobbied Congress the last day of the conference, visiting Nadler’s, Schumer’s and Gillibrand’s aides.  Schumer is by far the most difficult to reach under ordinary circumstances, with Gillibrand and Nadler both welcoming Peace Action’s input.  So it was gratifying to finally get an audience with one of Schumer’s staff, though he withheld concurrence with many of our policy positions.
Most of our positions are still being swatted away by our elected officials, though we came closer on the 55-45 Senate vote to stop bombing the starving Yemenis.
We’ll continue striving for peace.  That’s what we are here to do.  It’s right.  We promote peace without reservation.  And we know peace will come.

March 1, 2018 PAM Forum
Even though it rained like cats and dogs, this forum featuring the New York Progressive Action Network, (NYPAN) was well attended.  NYPAN has 32 groups around New York State who were Bernie Sanders supporters during the last Presidential election. Arthur Schwartz, Esq., a famous labor lawyer, explained that each chapter independently pursues its platform in their community.  Schwartz recounted his early days in high school and noted the anti-Vietnam war movement leaders did not pursue political offices. Mr. Schwartz said that NYPAN wanted to run candidates, not necessarily Democrats, but independents.  Ting, head of the Washington Heights NYPAN chapter, presented the NY Health Act legislation for a NY State single-payer health program. We look forward to NYPAN’s presence as a new vibrant political force within New York.
Lionelle Hamanaka

Shut down Indian Point!
Sumiteru Taniguchi, a boy of 16, was delivering mail on his bicycle on the day when the A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. He had severe burns, mostly on his back, for which he underwent several surgeries. For several months, lying on his stomach, he says that he begged to be killed. He also says that he cursed all parents, and those who fought in the war, and those who failed
to oppose the war.  Despite more than 70 years of pain due to his burns, he may be considered one of the more fortunate survivors of WWII. For decades, until his death on 30 August 2017, he was a prominent opponent of nuclear weapons. It may be assumed that he never had any blood of innocents on his hands. He had time to remember and condemn Japanese propaganda telling them that Japan would win, and that winning was right.
Many people today would not be forgiving of the people that Mr. Taniguchi condemned, on the basis of their belief in the divinity of the emperor, the righteousness of Japan, etc. Do we believe that we could prove our innocence, if an accident or an attack on Indian Point Energy Center rendered a large area radioactive, and caused cancer and premature deaths for decades to come?
I grew up in a country that had no nuclear power plants, and I reached maturity before the Chernobyl disaster. I never bought into the mixture of religion and ideology that some Americans were exposed to since childhood (about the U.S. being favored by God, about the 'American system' being the envy of the world, about nuclear technology making it possible for humankind to 'colonize space', etc.). Despite having spent more than 29 years in the U.S., and with genuine compassion for present and future victims of U.S. policies, I do not believe that adherence to any set of values can justify the kind of gambles that nuclear weapons and nuclear energy entail.
Elsewhere, I try to address some pros and cons of 'progress', or various contending progressive strategies. In the context of nuclear energy, and our continuing reliance on fossil fuels, I believe that many people with different viewpoints can agree that we are causing far too much pollution, wasting too many nonrenewable resources, working too many hours, and not even creating better social environments for future generations.
Both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy were faits accompli; they were not publicly argued for in advance. Even in some of the countries that adopted nuclear technology, the decisions were made 'from above'. Whatever 'defense' is offered after the fact should be evaluated in this context. One argument for Indian Point (IPEC) is that it provides up to 15 % or more of the energy for New York area, and that shutting it down would force the prices up. The figures are subject to dispute; however, it is undeniable that a nuclear disaster in this area would cause far more harm, in health and in economic terms, than any 'harm' that an immediate shutdown can cause.
I, for one, do not believe that it was a good idea to build as much within the New York area in the first place. I also think that far too much of world's wealth is stored (in art treasures, etc.) in this area, and far too much of the world's 'economy' is controlled from here. Many critics of nuclear power rightly point to feasible energy alternatives. I am not afraid to consider options other than simply switching between 'providers'. Some of us are ready to use less energy overall, producing fewer of certain 'goods', working fewer hours, etc. In other words, our present level of energy use per capita should not be taken for granted. Also, it would not necessarily be more painful to move more than 20 % of the people living in this area to other states in the U.S. (and elsewhere), and do so in peace time, on an unhurried schedule, than to try to evacuate a far larger number of people in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster!
Some may think that it is unfair to take for granted that disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima are in the cards for each and every nuclear reactor. Maybe so. Then again, this is not how one should read the precautionary principle. Undeniably, much progress was made throughout history by some people who took serious risks. However, we can make a lot more progress, and in many different directions, if we, collectively, embrace higher safety standards, and choose never to risk the likelihood of harm that we cannot compensate for, and/or to clean up afterwards.
We rely on many other species to generate our nutrients and our oxygen; we benefit from countless bacteria to help digest our food, and defend us against pathogens; bacteria clean up our solid waste Living among millions of species most of which evolve a lot faster than us, we must recognize the possibility of benefiting from cautious withdrawal from certain ecosystems, and be a lot more prepared to learn from other species.
The opposition to nuclear energy is a global struggle, and there is need for global collaboration and oversight. That said, we must recognize the singular risks involved in each (proposed) site. The Hudson River and its basin are a unique ecosystem that holds enormous promise despite centuries of human assault. In addition to depicting nightmare scenarios, we should try to imagine benefits from a ‘humbler’ human existence in this region, choosing to be servants and students of the flora and the fauna.[To be continued.] --Seyn Laproyen
And Furthermore
         To say that Donald Trump's presidency has brought us closer than ever to nuclear war is like saying "tomorrow there will be weather".  And the main concern is not even his ridiculous back-and- forth with North Korea's own mental case – that moronic exercise in "can-you-top-this" will likely remain just that. No, the even greater danger likely
lies in the Mueller investigation getting too close for comfort. At that point The Great Diverter could easily employ the ultimate slight-of-hand:  a conventional attack on Kim-Young-Un's nuclear sites.     
         Is he just not the man to do so? One of the (very) few things Trump must actually be aware of is that no American President has been tossed out of office in time of war, not electorally, not by impeachment, and certainly not by the all-too-timely institution of the 25th Amendment (which creates a process by which a President can be unseated in case of disability to govern). 
        And staying in power, for a narcissistic nincompoop in particular, is all-important. Trump needs more time to enact his all-evil agenda.
            Still, will we knock out ALL the nukes? And can we as a nation live with the death-toll even if we do? Also, if we don't, how will Kim reply?
       Heck, even our weak-kneed Congress is (vaguely) concerned about this perilous conundrum. Over the past few months various bills preventing Trump from single-handedly starting a nuclear confrontation have been discussed. Will any of them be actually be voted upon? Probably not. Would The Son of Drumpf veto them if they ever DO get to his (probably golden) desk? Count on it.
            Horrifying as all this is, our country's current condition is even more troubling than "just" the danger of nuclear confrontation. Because a man (?) such the Trumpster does not get elected President by happenstance. No, he's the natural result of a long-growing national malaise -- a determined drive toward self-destruction, if you will -- which amounts to much more than just the endless, and often lawless, grab for more and more wealth by the already-too-wealthy. Other pieces of the profoundly problematic puzzle are the ego-maniacal concept of "American Exceptionalism" --the idea that we're always right because, well, we're just better than everyone else -- which, coupled with the downright fetishizing of anything military, has led us to a state of pretty much constant warfare. AND to soldiers being used as sacrificial sideshows to the economic and strategic interests of the powerful (you know, the persons and entities who REALLY run this country).  AND to the absurd situation where the alleged "adults in the room" around Trumpsky are a trio of Generals, all of whom are the proud possessors of military minds AND, at the same time, are wallowing in a condition of shameful sycophancy to Trump.
             There were good reasons why the Founding Fathers opted for civilian -- Presidential -- control over the military. Of course, they never could have foreseen the disaster that's looming over our heads every minute of every day right now.  – Tom Kertes

Now:  The Time For Change
We write upon the fifteenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
This February the U.S. stated it would not contribute ninety billion dollars toward the rebuilding of Iraq, a country we deliberately destroyed without cause.
We are now in the eighteenth year of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
As Syria and Yemen collapse under the weight of armed assault, we hear the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel trying to reintroduce the war rhetoric about Iran.
How could this happen?  Is this slow motion train wreck a nightmare we can awake from?  Is this really our world?  It doesn’t have to be this way
A consciousness of peace once spread over the globe when soldiers and students, musicians, artists and writers led a worldwide movement to end war and raise the consciousness of the human race.  Let it revive.  Before, it was popular music, veterans speaking out, an influx of Eastern culture—especially religion—and Christianity also—that enlivened the American consciousness.

“At last, the perfect soldier!”

Now we need to transform the zeitgeist even more than last century.  The dark powers controlling media, our government and our economy are also now wielding the biggest, most destructive military power ever.
So now we strive to stand up, join together, and speak out against greed, aggression and injustice; and let’s stand up together for peace, freedom and equality.
In 2018, The Peace Action Forum has brought dynamic speakers presenting the case for peace in Korea, Yemen, and Syria.
Get involved and support Peace Action’s efforts to inform the public, demonstrate, and lobby elected officials to heed the cry for peace and against war.— Florindo Troncelliti
ã Peace Action Manhattan 2018
Journal edited by:  Florindo Troncelliti

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