Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

93 DAYS AROUND THE WORLD TO STOP WARS AND VIOLENCE

November 23, 2009

The World March for Peace and Nonviolence comes to USA November 30

(NEW YORK, November 20, 2009) — The World March for Peace and Nonviolence arrives in New York City on November 30. It is the first worldwide march and involves more than one million people. The marchers have taken their message of peace and nonviolence to some of the past and present zones of conflict: Hiroshima, the Korean Demilitarized zone, the border of Pakistan and India, Israel and Palestine, and the Balkan countries.

To mark the arrival, at 1 p.m. the international team of marchers will be welcomed at Brooklyn Borough Hall by New Yorkers representing more than 100 cultures, and including children and teachers, religious leaders, organizations, Consuls and city officials. They will march across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall where a press conference will be held at 3 p.m.

At 7 p.m. the official welcome of the international team of 25 marchers will be celebrated with a multimedia program of inspirational talks and cultural performances under the theme of “Beyond Violence” at Riverside Church (91 Claremont Street, NYC). The event is open to the public and free of charge.

At 12 noon, on December 1, at Ground Zero, the marchers will participate in a special ceremony to honor the 9/11 victims, decry the violence of the attacks and address the theme of reconciliation as it pertains to achieving peace and nonviolence. The event will be co-sponsored by World without Wars and without Violence, The Community for Human Development, and September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Setting out from New Zealand on October 2nd – the International Day of Nonviolence – this historic 93-day march has already traveled for sixty days through fifty countries on four continents. They have met with presidents of Finland, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and have been blessed by Pope Benedict XVI. An international delegation of the World March participated at the 10th Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Berlin, and the March was entrusted with disseminating their “Charter for a World Without Violence.”

Simultaneously, an unprecedented social mobilization has been taking place in support of the March, with forums, festivals, exhibits, concerts, sport events, and conferences held in more than 350 cities. The youth have been inspired, creating the largest peace sign in the Philippines with 12,000 children, a mile-long “Peace Wall” in Chile and the largest peace flag in Italy.

The March calls for the end of wars and the abolition of nuclear weapons. According to Chris Wells, the US spokesperson, “It aims to create a global consciousness, similar to what has already happened with climate change, that universally condemns all forms of violence.”

There is no shortage of prominent people and newsmakers who have endorsed the March including Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and other Nobel Peace Prize winners, Noam Chomsky, eleven presidents, hundreds of world leaders, celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett, Martin Sheen and Viggo Mortensen. For a complete list of endorsers.

From New York, the marchers move on to Washington, DC, Montreal, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It continues to Mexico, with events planned on both sides of the US-Mexico border, as it heads south through Central and South America. The World March will complete its monumental journey in the heights of the Andes on January 2, at Punta de Vacas, Argentina after traveling 99,000 miles.

Silo, Nobel Peace Summit: “A nonviolent world”

November 11, 2009

Silo, the founder of Universalist Humanism and the inspiration behind the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, addressed the 10th Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. His talk, “The Meaning of Peace and Nonviolence in the Present Moment,” spoke to the possibility of constructing a Universal Human Nation founded upon a culture of active nonviolence.

(BERLIN, November 11) Silo, the founder of Universalist Humanism and the inspiration behind the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, today addressed the 10th Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which was held in Berlin in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Silo‘s talk, “The Meaning of Peace and Nonviolence in the Present Moment,” spoke to the possibility of constructing a Universal Human Nation founded upon a culture of active nonviolence. He was introduced by Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her mediation work between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Silo described the present situation in the world as “extremely complex,” characterized by a growing nuclear threat, a resurgent arms race, widespread poverty and the clash of cultures, and a crisis of the international financial system. In his view, these are not isolated crises, however, “but rather a picture that reveals the global failure of a system whose method of action is violence and whose central value is money.” In particular, Silo denounced the irresponsible interests of the world’s nuclear powers and the madness of violent groups with possible access to nuclear weapons, which have put the entire planet at risk of an accident or confrontation of disastrous proportions.

The way out of this crisis, he insisted, is to create global awareness of peace and disarmament. “But it is also necessary,” he went on, “to awaken a consciousness of Active Nonviolence that allows us to reject not only physical violence, but all forms of economic, racial, psychological, and gender violence.” Here he cited the importance of exemplary social actions that permit broad participation, illustrated by the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, an unprecedented social mobilization that was initiated on October 2nd and is involving one million people in 100 countries on 6 continents. “For the first time in history an event of this magnitude has been put in motion by the participants themselves,” Silo said. “The true strength of this impulse is born in the simple act of one who, out of conscience, joins a dignified cause and shares it with others.”

Silo was joined on the stage by Rafael de la Rubia, spokesperson for the World March, and together they were presented with the Summit’s own “Charter for a World Without Violence” by Corrigan Maguire. Silo promised, in the name of the Humanist Movement and its affiliated organizations, to be emissaries for the Charter and to disseminate it widely through the World March, urging world leaders to adhere to its proposals of nonviolence.

The World March will be arriving New York City on November 30th as its first stop in the US and after traveling to 40 countries.  The World March will also travel to Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Red Bluff, San Diego and the US/Mexico border near Tijuana.

World March Report from Berlin

November 10, 2009

On November 11 during the Nobel Peace Price Summit, the Laureates will welcome the international delegation of the World March at the City Hall of Berlin to present the “Charter for a World Without Violence“.

The delegation of the march is received with their full commitment to widely disseminate the proposals of this Charter throughout their journey that began October 2 in Wellington, New Zealand culminating January 2, 2010 in Punta de Vacas, Argentina.

The highpoint of greatest attendance of the Summit will be at the presentation of Silo, founder of Universalist Humanism and the inspiration for the World March, where Silo will speak on the Meaning of Peace and Nonviolence in today’s world.

On Saturday, November 14th at 2 PM, we will be meeting in NYC, with Dennis and Nicole who have been traveling to Berlin and are anxious to share there experiences with us. Ripley-Grier studios, room 16K (520 8th Avenue, between 36-37 Sts).

20th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall:

November 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Laureates to Present “Charter for a World without Violence” to World March for Peace and Nonviolence

During the 10th Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, being held in Berlin on November 10-11 in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall, organizers of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence will be presented with the Laureates’ “Charter for a World without Violence.”  Speaking on behalf of the World March, Silo, the founder of Universalist Humanism and the inspiration of the World March, will address the prestigious body on “The Meaning of Peace and Nonviolence in the Present Moment,” on November 11 at 9 am. Silo will be introduced by the 1976 Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire from Northern Ireland.
The Charter, the result of several years of work by Nobel Prize recipients, was approved at the 8th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Beginning with the statement “Violence is a preventable disease,” the document calls on the global community to advance the cause of nonviolence in a variety of ways, including nuclear disarmament, appreciation of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, protection of the environment, and a reaffirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Participants in the 93-day World March for Peace and Nonviolence will become emissaries for the Charter and will obtain endorsements for it as they continue the journey they began in New Zealand on October 2nd. The World March will be arriving New York City on November 30th as its first stop in the US and after traveling to 30 countries.  Events planned for New York City include an international march across the Brooklyn Bridge, a press conference at City Hall and a celebration at Riverside Church.  The World March will also travel to Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Red Bluff, San Diego and the US/Mexico border near Tijuana.

The unifying theme of this year’s Nobel Laureate Summit is “breaking down new walls and building bridges to ensure a World of Human Rights and a World without violence”. International personalities attending the summit will include Mikhail Gorbachev, Frederik Willem De Klerk, Lech Walesa, Muhammad Yunus, Betty Williams, Congresswoman Maria Sachs (D-FL), Tom Brokaw and Michael Binyon, as well as representatives of Nobel Peace Laureate organizations, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the International Peace Bureau (IPB).

The Summit will close with the presentation of the World Summit Peace Prize to Annie Lennox. This honor is awarded annually to a celebrity who “has stood out in the defense of human rights and in spreading of the principles of peace and solidarity throughout the world.” Bono, Don Cheadle and George Clooney are among recent honorees.
9.00 Official presentation of the Charter for a World without Violence to the World March for Peace and Nonviolence

Introductory speech by Mairead Corrigan Maguire
Speeches by Mario Luis Rodriguez Cobos aka Silo (World March for Peace and Nonviolence)
Nobel Peace Laureates handing over the Charter for a world without violence to the World March for Peace and Nonviolence

Military Spending Talking Points

November 4, 2009
The high cost of military spending is usually illustrated by reference to what the rest of the world spends, to its inefficiency as a job creator or to the cost of individual weapons systems. There is a much more complete case to be made of the deleterious effects of military spending and I hope the following information will help others to make that more comprehensive case.
I. Overall Economic Performance
The Council on Economic Priorities has found through its studies that the more a country spends on the military as a part of its economy, the slower the economic growth, the higher the unemployment and the slower the productivity growth.(1)
The Council’s studies are buttressed by a noted study conducted by three economists, which concluded that the alleged Reagan-Bush ‘boom’ was really a bust. The study compared four post-World War II periods: 1948-1966, 1966-1973, 1973-1979  and 1979-1989 on three measures of economic performance: Real GNP Growth, Investment Pace and Productivity Growth. The period 1979-1989 performed well below the first two periods on all three measures and below 1973-1979 on Investment Pace. The latter period bettered 1973-1979 by only one tenth of a percent on Real GNP Growth and by four tenths of a percent on Productivity Growth.(2) The study further found that Productivity Growth in the 1979-1989 period was well behind that of leading competing economies.(3)
Economic performance in the 1973-1979 period was severely battered by inflation due to the sharp cut in production by oil-producing nations; moreover, a central characteristic of the 1979-1989 period was the huge Reagan military buildup.
In regard to job creation, Council on Economic Priorities studies show that for every $1 billion of governmental expenditure, civilian service jobs (like teaching) employ far more people than does spending $1 billion on weapons production.(4) For example, an employment research group concluded in the early 1980s that $1 billion in expenditures would create an average of 24,000 jobs in nuclear weapons production and an average of 38,000 jobs in civilian industries.(5)
II. Effect On Rate Of Inflation
Military spending tends to drive up the rate of inflation beacuse: 1.) it doesn’t make things that consumers can buy; 2.) it uses up capital, raw materials and research talent with little or none positive economic benefit; and 3.) it uses up huge chunks of the federal budget, meaning there is little money for the kinds of investments that make the economy more efficient.(6) Furthermore, cost plus contractors are guaranteed a profit over their costs, so there is no incentive to hold down costs.
III. High Rates Of Military Spending Drown Out Civilian Research
As a direct consequence of the big surge in military spending in the Reagan 80s, the U.S. spent the highest percentage of its resources on militarily-related research on a comparative-nation basis.(7) In the mid-1980s, 70 percent of the U.S. R and D budget was devoted to militarily-related activity and even as late as FY 1993, 57 percent was in the military research category.(8) One Reagan-initiated program alone, the University Research Initiative, doled out $85-100 million to universities for militarily significant basic research.(9)
IV. The Military Is A Voracious Consumer Of Highly Skilled Workforce
As of 1992, and according to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, it was estimated that 342,000 or 18 percent of the nation’s 1.86 million engineers were engaged in military work, including 73,000 employed directly by the DoD.(10) Moreover, based on 1986 National Science Foundation survey data, 69 percent of aeronautical and astronautical engineers, 50 percent of oceanographers, 34 percent of physicists and 32 percent of electrical and electronic engineers worked in military jobs.(11) Former German Chancellor Willy Brandt estimated that out of every 1,000 scientists all over the world, 200 were occupied with research into arms technology.(12)
V. The U.S. Military Is A Major Polluter
In an early 1990s study, the Pentagon’s Defense Environmental Restoration Program found 17,482 toxic hot spots at domestic military institutions.(13) The Worldwatch Institute reported in a 1991 study that the world’s militaries accounted for six to ten percent of global air pollution.(14), while a much more recent finding is that the U.S. military is the biggest polluter in the world, generating an estimated 750,000 tons of toxic waste every year.(15) According to the media group, Project Censored, the Pentagon has 10,000 employees who do nothing but handle the legal technicalities of military pollution.(16)
That the DoD and the EPA are not pulling in the same direction is exemplified by the fact that Donald Rumsfeld, while secretary of defense, requested and was granted more exemptions from environmental protective legislation than was the case with any other secretary of defense after the EPA was established.
VI. The Military Is A Major Contributor To U.S. Oil Dependency
Early in the 21st century, the U.S. military was consuming 330,000 barrels of oil a day.(17) According to a former Secretary of the Air Force, Thomas C. Reed, the eight-engine B-52 — some of which are still flying today — uses up 15 tons of fuel in one hour at full-throttle flight.(18) At a”fully burdened” cost of $400 a gallon, 15 tons of fuel would cost about $1,440,000.
Besides high oil consumption, the U.S. military was consuming more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum in the early 1990s than was much of the Third World.(19) We are, in effect, shortening the useful life of the earth’s finite resources through our reliance on a huge military establishment — a resource-use crime of unimaginable proportions. This crime encompasses our arms export program, which leads to other nations devoting a larger share of their resources for weapons of war.
VII. Rank Inflation Contributes To High Military Cost
The trend in the U.S. military has been to increase the ratio of middle-rank and flag-rank officers to enlisted men. In 1985, the armed forces had about one-sixth (2.2 million) the 1945 number of enlisted men and women but employed one-half the number of generals and admirals, and nearly the same number of field-grade officers than it had 40 years before, during a world war.(20)
VIII. “Fully Burdened” Fuel Cost Highlights Overseas Bases Cost
Finally, the startling revelation by the Pentagon that the “fully burdened” cost of a gallon of gasoline used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan is $400 has brought glaringly to home the high cost of supplying and maintaining our vast overseas military base complex.