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Word Federalist John B. Anderson DiesFormer Presidential Candidate and World Federalist Association President John B Anderson passed away of natural causes in Washington D.C. on Dec. 3 at the age of 95. Anderson, who served as a Republican in Congress from 1961-1981, ran for President as an independent in 1980 and earned 7 percent of the vote. He ran on a platform that stressed a balanced budget and a 50- cent a gallon gas tax combined with a 50 percent reduction in Social Security taxes. Anderson served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Field Artillery in World War II and later earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1949. He worked for the State Department, as a part of the Foreign Service, from 1952 to 1955. Writer Jim Mason penned a book titled “No Holding Back” on Anderson’s 1980 presidential run. Mason interviewed Anderson several times for the book. "Anderson's 7% finish in 1980 has greatly undermined the importance of his presidential campaign,” Mason said. “Even in defeat, it has influenced numerous future candidates. His was the first candidacy to expose how voters would appreciate a new realism in campaigning and demonstrated the interest that exists in candidates who run against politics-as-usual. His campaign reawakened the faith of voters that politics could be more truthful, pure, and honorable." The former congressman and presidential aspirant served as president of the World Federalist Association from 1992 to 2003. The WFA fights for a system of world law based around strengthened democratic institutions. In the years after his run for President of the United States, Anderson taught international law at a number of universities. Anderson compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as an internationalist. He promoted the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, a treaty to create a forum for prosecuting accused war criminals. Anderson was passionately committed to making war illegal. This was grounded in his experience as a World War II veteran. Anderson was haunted by the prospect of nuclear war in a world where nukes are proliferating and where there are no governing institutions to stop it. The former congressman hated corruption and injustice. Throughout his life, the more he saw of injustice and war, the more committed he became to put his politics in service of world peace. He believed that justice for all can be a reality only when there is universal law that applies to all equally, backed by democratic regional and global institutions with the authority and tools to enforce that law. Former Salt Lake City (2000-2008) Mayor Rocky Anderson, no relation to John B. Anderson, ran for President in 2012 on the Justice Party ticket. The Justice Party stood for social, environmental and economic justice. Rocky Anderson said he felt John Anderson would have approved of the party’s platform. He also said that he talked with John Anderson before his presidential run. Rocky Anderson was an ardent opponent of the 2003 Iraq war and advocated for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. John Anderson spoke at Rocky Anderson’s inauguration for Salt Lake City mayor. “He was bright, principled and classy,” Rocky Anderson said. “Everything we are missing in D.C. at this point. I voted for him in 1980 and admired him so much when he served as head of the World Federalist Association.”
United Nations Celebrates BirthdayAlthough few Americans recognize Oct. 24 as a holiday, it is celebrated by many in the U.S. and around the world as United Nations Day. The United Nations treaty was signed on Oct. 24, 1945 and three years later (1948) the UN General Assembly declared the signing day as a holiday and said the day "shall be devoted to making known to the people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for its work.” UN General Secretary António Guterres delivered a speech on UN Day where he addressed the challenges the world faces. He said: “our world faces many grave challenges: widening conflicts and inequality, extreme weather and deadly intolerance, security threats – including nuclear weapons. We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will. The world’s problems transcend borders. We have to transcend our differences to transform our future. When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people – they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world. On United Nations Day, let us, ‘We the Peoples’, make this vision a reality.” All the member states of the UN help finance the operations of the organization. Aside from world peace, its role has grown to protecting human rights, promoting social and economic development, and providing aid around the world in cases of famine, natural disaster and armed conflict. The UN started with just 51 members but now has 193. It marks humanity’s second attempt to build a world body to maintain peace. The first body, the League of Nations, lasted a little more than a decade. The UN has stood the test of time. What type of work does the UN do? Each year the body helps 38 million refugees fleeing war, conflicts, famine and persecution. The UN also saves lives through agencies like the World Food Program, which feeds 90 million people in 80 countries every year. In addition, the UN vaccinates 58 percent of the world’s children, this saves 3 million lives a year.
Remembering Benjamin RushSome ideas live well beyond their originators. This month marks 204 years since the death of Benjamin Rush, the man who first proposed the idea of a Department of Peace in the federal government. Rush ended his journey on the earth on Apr. 19, 1813. Although he’s not talked about as much as the other founding fathers, Rush earned a reputation as a Renaissance man, as he was a psychiatrist, a doctor, an elected official, the founder of Dickenson College, a signee to the Declaration of Independence and a professor of chemistry. In addition, he also made his mark on the world of social reform in opposing slavery, advocating for free public schools, education for women and a more enlightened prison system. Like most of the founding fathers, he feared the emergence of militarism and its consequences for the republic. Tragedy struck his family at a young age and Rush’s father died in his early childhood. But he went on to graduate from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, at the age of 14 and later apprenticed under a physician, earned a Doctorate in Medicine and started practicing medicine on his own. He later served as a doctor in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Rush is considered the “Father of American Psychiatry,” as he published a book Medical Enquiries and Observations on Diseases of the Mind.” A relative of William Penn (1644-1818), the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, Rush published an essay in “A Plan for a Peace-Office of the United States” in 1793. In this essay, he suggested a Peace Department to promote perpetual peace in the United States. He envisioned the department as being on equal footing with the War Department, the forerunner of today’s Department of Defense. He saw the Department of Peace as an entity that would ensure free schools for children all around the United States. He thought the department would celebrate life and discourage the horror of bloodshed. In addition, he thought militia laws should be repealed. Militias were state based military units that supplemented the regular military in Rush’s time. As the years went by they were increasingly replaced by the National Guard. The idea that wouldn’t die, a Department of Peace would continue to be discussed throughout the history of our country. In 1925, Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, suggested a Department of Peace at a Cause and Cure for War Conference. Just a year later in 1926, Disciples of Christ Minister Kirby Page, author of “A National Peace Department,” wrote and distributed a pamphlet advocating a Department of Peace. Activity on the issue continued throughout the next four decades, with Sen. Matthew Neeley (D-WV) introducing legislation (1935) and Sen. Alexander Wiley (R-Wisc.) speaking on the Senate floor about a department (1943). In 1947, Rep. Evert Dirksen (R-Ill.) introduced a bill for a peace division in the State Department. From 1955 to 1968, 85 bills were introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate for a Department of Peace. In 2001, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced another Department of Peace bill. The bill was reintroduced in each session from 2001 to 2009. The Kucinich bill held national and international dimensions. It included items such as: prison rehabilitation, grants for domestic and gang violence, monitoring military and non-military domestic weapons production, recommendations on diplomacy and mediation, monitoring human rights and the development of educational media to promote non-violence. Although legislation on establishing a Peace Department always ended in failure, national non-profit organizations such as the Student Peace Alliance and Peace Alliance, two separate organizations that work on their own, advocate a department. The movement lobbies congressional leaders and has sought and received a number of endorsements from city councils. Link: http://peacealliance.org/
Sacrificing Diplomacy for War–The Trump BudgetWhile increasing the U.S. military budget by $54 billion, President Trump’s new budget proposes cuts to the international development budget by 37%. These major cuts to the Secretary of State will severely hamper U.S. foreign relation efforts. Trump’s budget proposal demonstrates where his priorities lie, and it is not with diplomacy or international development. Americans should also expect to see cuts to the Public Broadcasting Service, the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities and the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump’s budget proposal is a boon for the defense industry as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Huntington Ingalls have each seen stock increases since the President’s budget proposal (Investor’s Business Daily) was released. The defense contractors further receive benefits in the form of subsidies and tax credits. The Fiscal Times provides a list of defense contractors and the amount in grants and tax credits each of the contractors receive. General Electric alone receives more than $800 million in tax credits. This new administration has made it clear that it prioritizes its war-based capacity over a peace-based economy. Even military leaders are questioning the President’s proposed cuts to the State Department budget. In a joint letter, 100 generals defended the importance of supporting diplomacy. They quoted Defense Secretary James Mattis who said, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition” (CBSNews). In quoting Mattis, these generals are saying that the country is essentially at risk with these cuts to diplomacy. The President’s proposed budget is unacceptable. It puts our country at risk and endangers the lives of military personnel at home and abroad. It is our personal responsibility to contact our congressional representatives every day and let them know that we do not support these cuts to valuable resources like the State Department, PBS, NEA and EPA. Contact your representative today! References Investor’s Business Daily: http://www.investors.com/news/a-fiscal-hawk-is-in-charge-of-the-budget-but-trump-will-raise-defense-spending/ The Fiscal Times: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/03/20/How-Big-Contractors-Mooch-Federal-Subsidies CBSNews: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-than-100-generals-sign-letter-warning-against-budget-cuts/ United States House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
An Escalating Arms Race: Is A New Cold War Inevitable?
Over the last year or so, it has seemed increasingly so. Consider the evidence:
- NATO has agreed to have combat brigades rotate through eastern European countries that formerly were under the domain of the Soviet Union. This follows the announcement of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) that would enable the U.S. and its NATO allies to respond rapidly to a security crisis with Russia. The administration has asked for $3.4 billion in the FY-2017 budget (versus the current $789 million) to be used for “prepositioning war fighting gear,” training and exercises.
- Russia and the U.S. each charge the other with violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Michael Gorbachev, the treaty stated that neither country would “possess, produce or flight test ground launched cruise missiles with a range of 3000 – 3400 miles."
U.S. Military Aid and Human Rights Violations Around the WorldLast year, the Peace Economy Project presented at Amnesty International's Midwest Regional Conference in Detroit, Mich. The session,"Blank Check: U.S. Military Aid and Human Rights Violations Around the World," featured facts and figures about human rights, the federal budget, foreign aid and the countries impacted by the U.S.' budgeting priorities. More than 30 people attended the fun-filled trivia session. (more…)
Drone Free STL Shifts Focus Toward City-Wide Surveillance and PrivacyBy Allison Reilly PEP Executive Director This article was originally published in the 2016 edition of the Peace Economy News. Drone Free STL was a coalition the Peace Economy Project formed in 2014 to stop police drones in the St. Louis region. St. Louis Chief of Police Sam Dotson is still awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to purchase a drone for the city. Early on, Drone Free broadened its focus toward other surveillance issues, such as body cameras and the Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC), as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department looks for ways to put citizens under surveillance besides unmanned drones. (more…)
Arms Control in the Age of Trump
December 14, 2017
Word Federalist John B. Anderson Dies
December 8, 2017
Inside The Sausage Factory
November 28, 2017
Can the World Be Free of Weapons?
November 14, 2017
Let’s not start a war over North Korea!
October 24, 2017