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Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

A Little Too Late

Posted by feww on January 17, 2014

… but included for the record

Needed: Three Obama Speeches for the People

by Ralph Nader
January 16, 2014

Dear President Obama:

All the daily decisions and crises you have to confront must not preclude occasional addresses to the country that rise to the level of statesmanship, transcending the hurly-burly of politics and executive branch administration.

There are three areas where the people need the views and vision of their President.

1. A major address on the resources and preconditions necessary for the government to wage peace as a continual policy of statecraft and not just sporadic initiatives between waging war or engaging in other violent conflicts. Consider the enormous disparity of time, power and money allocated to preparing for or waging military assaults with what is devoted to prevention of conflict and other fundamentals of securing the conditions for peace. The tiny U.S. budgets for nuclear, chemical and biological arms control with the Soviet Union and other nations over the years have certainly produced positive returns of incalculable magnitude and importance.

We have military academies but no peace academies. Vast sums are allocated for research and teaching about war and military tactics, but very little for peace studies at our schools and universities. You may wish to meet with former Washington Post columnist, Colman McCarthy, who teaches peace in the Washington D.C. area schools and has written pioneering books and articles that include his compelling arguments for having peace studies adopted in high schools and colleges around the country (see http://www.salsa.net/peace/conv/ for more information).

2. Earlier in 2009 and again in 2011 I wrote to urge you to address a large gathering, in a convenient Washington venue, for the leaders of nonprofit civic organizations with tens of millions of members throughout the United States. Not receiving a reply, I sent my request to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, whose assistant replied saying you were too busy.

You were, however, not too busy to address many business groups and also to walk over to the oppositional U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Well, it is the second term and such a civic gathering could be scheduled at your convenience. You could use this occasion to make a major speech on the importance and means of advancing the quality and quantity of civic groups and their chapters which, taken together, are major employers. Your advisers could even justify the effort as stimulating a jobs program by urging larger charitable contributions from the trillions of dollars of inert money in the hands of the upper economic classes.

3. Strengthening democratic processes and expanding democratic institutions and participation by the people are cardinal functions of the presidency. Indeed, Harvard Law Professor, Richard Parker in his little, seminal book: Here the People Rule (Harvard University Press, 1998) argues that the constitution authorizes the President “to facilitate the political and civic energies of the people.”

A major address on this topic should be right up your experiential alley from both your early experience in Chicago of observing and confronting the power structures’ many forms of exclusion and mistreatment of the populace and your more recent accommodation to that power structure and its influence over Congress.

As has been said, democracy is not a spectator sport. It requires a motivated citizenry, along with rights, remedies, and mechanisms that facilitate people banding together as candidates, voters, workers, taxpayers, consumers and communities. Concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few who decide for the many is the great destroyer of any society’s democratic functions. It was Justice Louis Brandeis who, memorably, stated that, “We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” And another well-regarded jurist, Judge Learned Hand declared, “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: thou shalt not ration justice.”

As “politics” is seen by more people as a dirty word and as the people move from cynicism about political institutions to greater withdrawal from them, including public meetings, primaries, elections and referenda, they need a president who addresses these disabling symptoms of a weakening democratic society from the local to the state to the national levels of our political economy.

Such an address will have positive reverberations beyond the general public. Depending on your scope, recommendations and announcements, it will reach the youth of our country, our high schools, universities, workplaces and professional schools. Why it may even affect the moribund, technical routines of the Harvard Law Review (where you were president in 1990) as well as other law schools, bar associations and lawyers who aspire to higher estimates of their own professional significance (see my remarks “The Majesty of the Law Needs Magisterial Lawyers” before the Connecticut Bar Association June 17, 2013). If law means justice, as it should, then the rule of law needs presidential refurbishing to strengthen the fiber of our democracy.

I hope you will see the merit of these three suggestions. A copy of this letter is being sent to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, whose staff may be responsive in a different manner.

I look forward to your reaction.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph Nader

*****

We would advise Mr Nader, as noble and well-intended as his ideas may be, that you can’t run an empire with peace academies, and urge him to reconsider the impact of contributing and lending legitimacy to super-commercial, predatory “news & views” outlets like the Huffington Post.

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World’s Most Unethical Country Also “Greatest Threat to Global Peace”

Posted by feww on January 2, 2014

US the biggest threat to global peace in 2013: Poll

The United States is considered to be the greatest threat to peace in the world by 65 nations in a 2013 global survey conducted by the Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup.

According to the survey, 24% of the world believes the United State represents the biggest threat to world peace. The US was followed by Pakistan (8%) and China (6%). Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea took joint fourth place with 5 percent of the votes.

  • Some 13% of the U.S. Citizens considered their own country the biggest threat to world peace.[Additionally, 70 percent of Americans believe the US government in incapable of making progress on important issues facing the nation in 2014. ]
  • Surprisingly, Saudi Arabia took only 1% of the votes, despite being a major sponsor of global terrorism.
  • Japan received only 4% of the votes, despite its warmongrel prime minister targeting China with $232 billion in weapons purchase.
  • Previously, Israel had “been described as the top threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran, by [59 per cent of those interviewed in] an unpublished European Commission poll of 7,500 Europeans,” according to a report.

threat to world peace
Data: WIN/Gallup. Chart: FIRE-EARTH Blog.

WIN/Gallup, allegedly made up of 77 independent market research and polling firms, calls itself “the leading association in market research and polling,” and claims to cover 95% of the global market.

The 37th annual “End of Year Survey” of the association was described as  “a global study that collects the public view on the challenges that the world faces today,” which allegedly  reflects “the thoughts and behaviors” of the populations in 65 countries across the world.

Notes:

  • Win/Gallup interviewed a total of 67,806 people  in 65 countries between September and December 2013.
  • The survey margin of error is +/- 3.5%.
  • The global average was calculated according to the proportion of the adult population in the surveyed countries.

-oOo-

In its 2011 “End of the Year” post titled

Most Unethical Nations in 2011 [and Probably 2012]

Posted by feww on December 31, 2011, FIRE-EARTH said

World’s top 20 countries with the highest arms expenditure 


Top 20 countries with the highest military expenditure for 2010 shown as a percentage of the world total. Source: SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, War Resisters League and others.

NOTES:
1. The “Tier 1 Coalition Countries,” or the countries that obediently  support the United States war efforts to maintain its empire status, which include Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Spain and the Netherlands account for at least 71% of the world’s total arms procurement.

2. Arms procurement is normally 20-50% of the countries’ military budgets.

3. World’s total arms expenditure for 2010-2011 was estimated at $1,655 billion.

4. The 2012 United States federal budget is a staggering $2,847 billion, of which 48% ($1,372 billion) is allocated to the military. (Source). The figure includes 30% or $869 billion for current military operations, and 18% or $503 billion for past military disasters from Total Outlays of $2,847 billion in 2012 fiscal year. [“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—not to mention the Pentagon’s voracious appetite for expensive weapons systems—have been a gold mine for the Big Five:  Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman and Boeing.” ~ “From Pentagon, a Buy Rating on Contractors,” Joe Nocera, New York Times, Feb. 11, 2011]

Global Disaster Links

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