Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Prepare for this event by watching a slide show provided by MoveOn.com.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The first step should be the elimination of the words “War on Terror.” It’s a well-worn cliché that “wars” cannot be fought against ideas and “terror” is an idea. “Terror” does not have a universally agreed upon definition but in general “terror” is defined by acts of violence perpetrated against “innocents” -- non-combatants – by non-state actors for a political impact.
One must ask: Is it not “terror” when state-sponsored embargos and wars deprive non-combatants, civilians, babies, mothers, families, of food, health care, shelter, and, oh yes, in the process destroy their homes and kill or imprison them (without due process).
As for the word “war,” maybe this word too should be eliminated. Metaphors aside, haven’t we seen enough of the horror of “war”?
How can the Afghan “government” (remember we’re not really talking a unified country) and the U.S. government approach this issue?
A modest suggestion: switch the focus from “terror” to hunger, education, health care, and human rights.
Instead of “war,” which suggests opposing sides, look for common ground with the people of the mountains and tribal territories, with the poppy growers and the starving people in the cities.
Look at history. Since the first Afghan farmers – we’re talking farming 50,000 years ago -- faced off with the first tribal invaders and more recently (4000 years ago) Persians followed by Alexander the Great, this land of strong people has defeated all comers, most recently the British Empire followed by the Soviet Union.
If the last several thousand years have demonstrated anything it is that Afghanistan cannot be unified by invaders nor tribal wars.
Forget bin Laden. Undercut his power. Talk with the people. Eliminate bin Laden’s base.
Village-by-village, tribe-by-tribe, work with people instead of carpet-bombing them. Learn languages, cultures. Don’t force our values. Don’t demand subservience.
Attend weddings; don’t target them because suspects are dancing in celebration.
Share our humanity.
Beats the last several thousand years of war.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Economic meltdown, Bernie Madoff, off-shoring, sub-prime loans, bailouts, entitlements, supply and demand ... wish you had paid more attention when they talked about economics in high school or college? Are you interested in learning more about economics -- what the words mean, basic concepts, pointers on personal finance?
Still not convinced? Here are some more reasons to learn about economics:
- You can talk about money without having to make any
- Mick Jagger and Arnold Schwarzenegger both studied economics, and look how they turned out
- When you are in the unemployment line, at least you will know why you are there
- If you rearrange the letters in 'ECONOMICS,' you get 'COMIC NOSE.'
The LTLPF is sponsoring a free film and discussion series at the Charlevoix Public Library, using films produced by The Teaching Company and featuring Timothy Taylor, Professor of Economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
The first four sessions will cover two half-hour topics each, followed by a half hour or more of open discussion. We have taken our lead from a Swedish saying, "Economics is like red wine - if you drink too much on one occasion, there is a risk for dizziness." So we'll learn a little at a time. Each of the programs will begin at 2:00 p.m.
February 8 -- "How Economists Think" and "Division of Labor"
February 22 -- "Supply and Demand" and "Price Floors and Ceilings"
March 8 -- "Elasticity" and "The Labor Market and Wages"
March 22 -- "Financial Markets and Rates of Return" and "Personal Investing"
If people are interested, we will move on to topics like "Money and Banking," "The Federal Reserve and its Powers," "International Financial Crashes," "Regulation and Deregualtion," and more.
Everyone is welcome. No tests, no pressure -- an interest in learning about economics is all you need to bring with you.
Monday, January 12, 2009
January 8, 2009
You may have seen us standing on the corner of Mitchell and US 31 carrying signs and flags or seen us in the Petoskey News Review on January 8, 2009. Northern Michigan People for Peace is standing outside in protest calling for an end to the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Palestinians citizens in Gaza and call for an opening of Gaza's borders and end of the blockade. We ask that the people there have access to food, water, electricity, gas for cooking and other humanitarian aid that has been denied them.
Northern Michigan People for peace are resolved to solving conflicts in a non-violent fashion and for this reason we are against Hamas's rockets shot into Southern Israel and the disproportionate Israeli retaliation. We believe that a military assault on Gaza and her people is not a useful step towards peace, which is sorely needed in this region, and the US should use its power as negotiator to assert this point.
We support finding a solution to the conflict without violence on either side. Northern Michigan People for Peace works to promote peace and justice in our community, our nation and our world. Our activities aim to prevent violent conflict and, if violence occurs, to promote reconciliation and sustainable peace.
As Jimmy Carter recently stated, these hostilities could have been prevented and it is urgent that the US act now so that further atrocities are prevented. Israel must end its blockade of Gaza, which is depriving the population of necessary humanitarian aid and normal economic activity. Although Israel's security is important it cannot be at the expense of hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians.
We condemn all war crimes, which are set out in international humanitarian law in the Geneva Conventions. Hamas has violated these laws by targeting civilian populations with rocket fire. Israel's violations were articulated recently by include the UN head of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto who recently stated, "The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that [it] illegally occupies." Israel's violations include: the collective punishment of 1.5 million people for the actions of a few militants (such as restricting their ability to flee and depriving them of basic needs), targeting civilians (such as bombing schools, using phosphorus shells, targeting major population centers), and disproportionate military response.
We call on the Israeli government to stop their killing of women, children, journalists, humanitarian workers, and all civilians.
We call on the area residents to use their own power and voice to contact their representatives to urge an end to the atrocities at once. We call on local residents to contact Bart Stupak, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and pressure them to vote against any resolution that fails to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and for unimpeded access for humanitarian aid into Gaza and a lifting of Israel's illegal siege.
We call on the US to stop using its veto power on the UN security counsel to protect Israel. We call on the US to stop giving a $2.34 billion blank check to Israel for weapons, which we believe is accelerating the violence.
We call on President Bush and President elect Barack Obama to stop all military aid to Israel until it stops using the weapons on innocent civilians being held captive in their own land.
Come join us at our next meeting to work towards a more peaceful and just world: January 20th at 7pm Horizon Books.