Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Would JFK Advise the Next American President?

By Robert H. Girling and Tom DiGrazia
540 words

This year marks forty-eight years since the election of JFK and the beginning of the New Frontier. Kennedy’s election came at the end of a period of war and social decay and was marked by the persecution of thousands of Americans by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Kennedy’s hard fought campaign against Vice President, Richard Nixon resulted in a narrow victory; the country was deeply divided.

Kennedy inherited a nation nearly bankrupted by a decade of negligence—recession in the economy, a ballooning balance of payments deficit, as well as deficiencies in the nation’s education, housing and health care not to mention trouble in Asia, Africa and Latin America. His inaugural address was eloquent. “Life in 1961 will not be easy. Wishing it, predicting it, even asking for it, will not make it so. There will be further setbacks before the tide is turned. Turn it we must. The hopes of all mankind rest upon us.”

What advice might Kennedy give to the next president? Given what we know of Kennedy...[be the first to examine the full text by mail:peacevoicedirector@gmail.com]

Robert Girling is a professor in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University and a Fulbright Senior Scholar. Tom DiGrazia, an attorney and peacemaker, is a former Robert F. Kennedy Fellow.

contact: Prof. Robert Girling, 707 664 2228 email girling@sonoma.edu


880 words
By Robert Girling
Professor, School of Business and Economics
Sonoma State University

Now that we are in the midst of a financial crisis, is a time to act boldly.

It is a moment that the Chinese would describe as weiji, a “dangerous

While much of the press has focused on the danger, there little said about
the opportunities. There is a vast opportunity if only Congress would act
on it.

Now is the time for Congress to take action and authorize funding for a
$200 billion annual public works military conversion program based in
public transportation and energy conservation. Tax credits for
alternative energy and “green” conversion of residential and commercial
buildings will allow our economy to side-step a recession and put it on a
path for long term growth well into the twenty first century....[be the first to examine the full text by contacting PeaceVoiceDirector@gmail.com and you'll have the opportunity to publish this piece first].

Robert Girling is Professor of Business Strategy at Sonoma State
University. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and is a Fulbright
Senior Scholar.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Militaristic McCain

by Tom H. Hastings

500 words

We live in a war system. The inputs into any system help to generate the outcomes and war is an outcome of our system, a war system by any measure. We spend more on the military than anyone—indeed, about the same as all other countries combined. We have more foreign bases than any nation in human history. We export more arms than anyone.

We live in a war culture, with all the ham-handed subtleties that implies. Recruitment billboards with Marines in front of massive rippling U.S. flags litter our view along the highways, upon which some drive the ultimate militaristic fantasy vehicle—the Hummer. No political speech can fail to mention how fabulous our warriors are, and how they represent the best in U.S. values and commitment.

As in any ecological system, all subsystems affect each other—either amplifying the next subsystem or mitigating it.

...(to examine the full text and for the opportunity to be the first to publish this peace commentary, contact PeaceVoiceDirector@gmail.com)

Tom H. Hastings (pcwtom@gmail.com) teaches in the MA/MS Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obsession Smells

by Tom H. Hastings

570 words

Today, everyone who subscribed to or purchased their Sunday Oregonian received, unbidden, a copy of Wayne Kopping’s Obsession: Radical Islam’s war against the West, a packaged DVD that purports to show us the threat of worldwide radical Islam. It is disturbing and contains enough fact and truth to spur a logical and correct rejection of the ghastly beliefs and conduct of radical Islamicists.

Obsession is also connected to both the Israeli intelligence service and Christian evangelicals via Middle East Media Research Institute, according to SourceWatch.org.

Naturally, then, it is an hour of pure propaganda funded in part by the rightwing Olin Foundation for a continued and greater Global War on Terror, the current justification for a military budget that—including all military expenditures, many of which are improperly not counted as military—tops $1 trillion in 2009. With the election coming in a month, can the timing of distribution in the Oregonian be coincidence?

...[to be the first to examine the full text, contact PeaceVoiceDirector@gmail.com and you'll have the opportunity to publish this commentary first if you wish]

Tom H. Hastings (pcwtom@gmail.com) teaches in the MA/MS Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Five Threatening Character Flaws of John McCain

by Tom H. Hastings

600 words

There seems to be some confusion amongst the pundits about who ‘won’ the first presidential debate on September 26. Winning a debate was once about demonstrating intellectual command over the facts and logic surrounding an issue. Americans are trained to look past the depth of arguments, however, to the shallow ad hominem jabs, and the talking heads reinforced that once again. So, all right. In an attempt to look toward actual, predictable effects of a McCain victory, we key off the debate to five notches in the key of catastrophe being cut and buffed by McCain.

One: McCain is ossified. Almost before he finished his second sentence, John McCain was saying, ‘Again…,’ as though he had no fresh thoughts beyond his rote response.

Two: McCain is reckless. He tut-tutted Obama about the latter’s measured if militaristic statement that if he were president and received actionable intelligence about bin Laden operating at a specific location in the tribal areas of Northwest Pakistan, he would attack al-Qa’ida. “You don’t say that out loud,” said McCain, as though he would do the same thing, but just make it a surprise to Pakistanis. Obama explained and then noted that it was odd to hear such criticism from someone who sang songs about bombing Iran and discussed the “extinction” of North Korea.… (for your exclusive consideration of the original full text, be the first to contact us: PeaceVoiceDirector@gmail.com)

Tom H. Hastings (pcwtom@gmail.com) teaches in the MA/MS Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Anatomy of the Current Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program

(843 words)

By Joseph Gerson

Iran’s nuclear program has a complex history. It began in the 1950s with President Eisenhower’s offer of training and technologies as part of his Atoms for Peace program, when it was widely believed that nuclear power could produce electricity “too cheap to meter.” In 1974, the Shah of Iran stated his belief that Iran’s oil reserves would eventually be depleted, and with German help initiated plans for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Building on the Nixon Doctrine, in which Iran became an enforcer of U.S. interests in the Middle East, in 1974 President Ford offered to build a nuclear reprocessing plant capable of producing plutonium at Bushehr. At the time, Dick Cheney was President Ford’s Chief of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense. Following Iran’s “Islamic Revolution”, the U.S. and several European nations ceased nuclear cooperation with Iran, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s government suspended the nuclear program as an unnecessary continuation of the Shah’s policies.

Today, Iran’s nuclear program includes ...[for the full text, contact PeaceVoiceDirector@gmail.com]

Dr. Joseph Gerson is Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England.