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Corvallis Presentation: The Consequences of Hanford Plutonium Production
Book Talk: Why We Fight by Christopher Blattman
VFP132 is proud to promote tonight’s Public Policy Book Talk: Christopher Blattman on Why We Fight. Blattman shares his most recent book, Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, at the LasSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus. This event is co-presented by the School of Public Policy, Dubach Chair, and the Department of Applied Economics and the College of Liberal Arts.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Peace Activism, Peace News, War Economy Tagged Corvallis, OSU, peace, Public Policy Leave a comment
VFP: Linus Pauling Year in Review
Exposing the true costs of war and militarism
Veterans Driving Action
Navy veteran makes a difference
Resolution for Divestment from the War Machine
Chapter help for others
Exposing the True Costs of War and Militarism
On Tax Day, April 16, at the Howland Plaza in Corvallis’ Riverfront Park. The focus was how spending on the military could be refocused to other activities. Most noted were health care and housing. These were followed by education, food security, child care, student debt, righting injustices, helping the needy, paying reparations to indigenous and peoples of color, supporting refugees and world peace, environmental concerns about renewable energy, stopping the use of fossil fuels, and developing better infrastructure for electricity and transportation. Clearly, what is spent on militarism has not reached down to the basic needs of society.
The Commemoration, a Corvallis event since the early 1980s, was held at dusk on August 4, at the Howland Plaza in Corvallis’ Riverfront Park. The Commemoration, designed to remind us of the horrors of war, was particularly timely this year. Many attendees provided personal experiences of how war has and continues to affect their families. The costs of war go well beyond the battlefield in continuing to ring up social, emotional, personal, and environmental costs that continue for years after “peace” is declared.
Veterans Driving Action
Navy Veteran Makes a Difference
A Navy veteran who was deployed to the Persian Gulf twice as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Joel Inman has shown how much difference one member can make. Even though he is a full-time elementary school teacher, husband, and father of a teenager, he took an important assignment to help with our work. He volunteered to take the role of recording secretary and also took over the maintenance of our website (http://vfpcorvallis.org/) and social media accounts. He helped produce a slide show on the climate crisis and the effects of militarism for Corvallis’ annual Climate Action week. For our Linus Pauling Chapter Tax Day event, he was the keynote speaker and moderator who introduced speakers from various local social justice organizations. He delivered powerful testimony to the City Council in favor of a resolution banning investment in companies involved in the production of military weapons.
Currently, he is doing research for a talk on Smedley Butler, the Major General who wrote the anti-war classic, War is a Racket . Butler testified before Congress regarding the “Business Plot,” in which he was recruited to lead a mercenary Army to overthrow the Roosevelt government in 1933. The theme of Joel’s review of Butler’s work and the recent biography of his life, Gangsters of Capitalism by Johnathan M. Katz, is that we can respect our heroes while recognizing the hypocrisy of what they do in the name of “defending our freedom.” You can learn more about Butler’s life and Joel’s presentation at one of the VFP: Linus Pauling events in 2023.
Resolution for Divestment from the War Machine
VFP:LP members assisted in the divestment of public funds from the “War Machine.” Over a three-year period, several chapter members worked on the resolution, “Prohibition of Direct Investments in Weapons Manufacturers and Military Contractors.” (https://www.divestfromwarmachine.org/corvallis). The Corvallis City Council unanimously passed this resolution at its November 7, 2022 meeting that affirms that “… the City shall not directly invest its non-pool public funds in companies involved in the production of weapons of war.”
The VFP:LP helped support the resurgence of KORC radio in Corvallis with financial support and programming contributions.
The anti-war classic, War is a Racket was distributed to local schools and libraries.
VFP:LP donated to the Empire Files to assist them in completing Earth’s Greatest Enemy, a film about how militarism acts as a significant driver of the climate crisis. Learn more and contribute here.Visit our website to learn more about the Linus Pauling Chapter activities.
Posted in Peace Activism Tagged Corvallis, cost of war, peace, pentagon budget, veterans, veterans for peace, VFP:LP Leave a comment
The Ukrainian lifeboat dilemma
This article by Rick Staggenborg, MD, the Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling chapter president, first appeared at Op-Ed News here on Jan. 14, 2023. We urge you to check out the comment section at that link—very informative and you can join the conversation there as well.
The full article is reproduced here.
There’s a classical dilemma in ethics you’ve likely heard of that’s known as the lifeboat problem. Imagine that you’re on the last lifeboat on a sinking ship. It’s already full beyond safe capacity. The chance of rescuers arriving any time soon is minimal. There are still passengers in the shark-infested water who have little chance of survival if they are not pulled out. Those on the lifeboat have a choice between leaving them to almost certain death or taking the chance of very likely sinking the boat, with all lives lost. What do you do?
There is no unique “solution” to the lifeboat problem because neither action is something a moral person would want to do. The point of posing it is to 1) make clear that not all moral choices are black-and-white and 2) to think about how we make moral choices. When faced with a dilemma, we should do our best to realistically assess our options and consciously choose to do what we believe to be right based on the best information available. We cannot settle for adopting a simplistic view that makes the choice seem easy. Moral decisions can only be made after considering the likely consequences of our actions, rather than responding rashly out of emotion.
The typical first reaction when faced with the lifeboat dilemma is to want to try to save those who are about to die. If you don’t consider the risk that poses to everyone in the boat, you could kill them all without even realizing that was a possibility. Some would be willing to take that risk, hoping for that by some miracle that all survive, but most of us would want to save as many as possible. Logically, given the facts as presented, that would be accomplished by letting some drown, as horrifying as that prospect is. You might decide to try to take as many as will fit on board and tell yourself that you are “leaving it up to God” whether anyone survives but in reality, you are still responsible for your choice.
The situation in Ukraine can be considered a corollary of the lifeboat problem. If the US and other NATO nations quit supplying Ukraine with weapons, Ukraine would face certain defeat. However, if NATO continues to send weapons it is risking the lives of everyone else on the planet due to the ever-growing threat of nuclear war. As an additional twist, some contend that a Russian victory would embolden it to make war against the rest of Europe. Others doubt this, arguing that Russia’s defeat would be worse because it would allow the American Empire to continue to advance, unchallenged, its bloody plans for global domination.
If your goal is to minimize destruction and loss of life, the choice is clear. Even if you believe that Ukraine has a fighting chance of driving Russia from Donbass and Crimea, this would clearly come at the cost of a great loss of life on both sides, and Ukraine would be left in ruins. If you don’t believe that Ukraine has any hope of defeating Russia on its own, it’s clear that further resistance will only result in more death and suffering on behalf of a lost cause. In either event, the only way we might help stop the carnage is to demand a cessation of weapons shipments and call for the US to support negotiations.
Calling for negotiations alone is a feel-good response with no chance of affecting the prospects of peace. Russia cannot realistically be expected to negotiate while Ukraine continues to receive ever-more powerful weapons from the US. And after the enormous costs in blood and treasure that it has paid, there can be no retreat. Putin knows that after the betrayal by NATO and Ukraine of their promises in the Minsk Accords, Russia does not have a viable partner in negotiations. Until NATO shows good faith by halting the flow of weapons to Ukraine, it will continue its grim task of grinding down Ukrainian resistance in a war of attrition. With more than 200,000 fresh troops scheduled to deploy soon and four times Ukraine’s population to draw from, it’s clear who will win such a contest.
The only rationale for supporting arms to Ukraine as things stand is to believe, against all reason, that Ukraine can not only push Russia back to its pre-February 24 position but retake Crimea. Whether such irrationality stems from a real fear that Putin has the desire and capability to take over Europe like the (latest) modern-day Hitler he is painted out to be, or from an atavistic desire to see the guys in the white hats beat the guys in the black hats, it’s time that those “peace activists” pushing for more weapons to Ukraine face reality. It’s not our moral responsibility to enable the Empire’s proxies to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. Even if Russia were miraculously defeated decisively on the field, what then? Are they so determined to “win” that they’re okay with nuclear war?
The choice is clear: Those who have a genuine interest in the welfare of Ukraine and the rest of world must demand that their governments end weapons shipments to Ukraine now, and that the US encourages negotiations.
Bob Stebbins, ¡Presente!
Today, we remember the life of Bob Stebbins, one of VFP Linus Pauling Chapter’s charter members, who died December 29, 2022 at the age of 89.
Bob led Army units in Korea and witnessed first-hand the horrors of war. Until very near the end of his life, Bob worked tirelessly for peace and justice. But he was also sort of a renaissance man with serious art and science skills.
His obituary appeared in the local Corvallis/Albany papers.
We would have loved to be present in the late 1960s as Bob led anti-Vietnam War activism among his faculty colleagues at Oregon State University. This had to be a risky move at a largely conservative agricultural school in those days.
From the moment he helped us create our new Corvallis, Oregon VFP chapter in 2006, Bob could always be counted on for ideas on how to better educate the public about the true costs of war. But he also gave us his enthusiastic presence at any VFP function, be it a parade in terrible weather, flyering about the Pentagon budget at the post office on tax day, or just to offer a few comments at a rally or demonstration to reaffirm his and the chapter’s commitment to creating a more peaceful world.
Even in his later years, Bob could be seen pedaling around Corvallis on his trike, which sported a peace flag for better visibility on the road. His commitment to fighting climate change was also evident when he replaced his VW van with a small electric vehicle.
Another fond memory is of Bob’s crucial help setting up our Armistice (Veterans) Day float in the big Albany, Oregon parade in 2012. We wanted to remind parade goers that Veterans Day began as Armistice Day at the end of World War I. To draw attention to our “float” we needed a big bell that could be rung eleven times in succession, representing the end of the “Great War” and the armistice signing at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. Bell ringing has been a VFP Armistice Day tradition for many years. Well, Bob dusted off his big school bell, founded for his Specialty Apples business, and mounted it on a frame so it could ride safely in the back of our float trailer.
Bob can be seen at one of the Albany parades in this page’s banner photo above, on the left, in the tan jacket.
Bob’s lifelong contributions to the causes of social justice, environmental justice, universal healthcare and peace cannot be overstated.
He is truly missed.
Bob Stebbins, ¡Presente!
Posted in Peace Activism Tagged armistice day, Corvallis, oregon, Robert Stebbins, veterans for peace, vfp linus pauling Leave a comment
Linus Pauling VFP and Partners React: Corvallis Divest from War
Veterans For Peace: Linus Pauling members partnered with Corvallis Divest from War to pass a resolution through the Corvallis City Council to prevent future investments in war profiteering. An editorial in the Gazette Times seemed to dismiss the action as virtue signaling, prompting this Letter to the Editor response:
Your December 9 editorial, ‘Corvallis leaders shouldn’t waste widespread support,’ missed an important point about city-sponsored resolutions on issues of statewide and national concern.
The City Council makes governmental policies and oversees city administration, but it also has the authority, even a responsibility, to express our community’s values.
The editorial noted actions of the Corvallis council may serve to inspire other local governments. Yes, a major reason for passing resolutions about statewide and national issues is to encourage other local governments to also consider those issues.
Our individual letters to the editor are valuable, but they are drowned out by special interests who pay to speak more loudly to government. When resolutions of a community are passed and reported in the media, the community’s voice is amplified.
Among our biggest problems today are militarism, climate and environmental crises, racism, and homelessness. The resources our country devotes to weapons production could better be applied to those issues. Yet manufacturers of weapons are one of the most strident lobbies in Washington DC.
If we want our government to represent the interests of ordinary Americans, we need to let legislators know what we want. The more communities demand to redirect money from weapons production to our real problems, the more likely higher-level governments will hear our voices.
We appreciate our Corvallis City Council for their willingness to adopt proactive, local policies that also speak to our country’s difficulties.
Corvallis Divest from War
Brian C. Lee
Linda M. Richards
Posted in Peace Activism Tagged Corvallis, divestment, veterans for peace, VFP Leave a comment
CORVALLIS, OREGON UNANIMOUSLY PASSES RESOLUTION PROHIBITING INVESTMENTS IN WEAPONS
CORVALLIS, OR: On Monday, November 7, 2022, the Corvallis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to prohibit the city from investing in weapons of war. The resolution passed following years of advocacy work by the Corvallis Divest from War coalition, including an initial hearing in February 2020 where the resolution was voted down.
The coalition represents 19 organizations: Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132, WILPF Corvallis, Our Revolution Corvallis Allies, Raging Grannies of Corvallis, Pacific Green Party Linn Benton Chapter, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Corvallis, Corvallis Palestine Solidarity, World BEYOND War, CODEPINK, Race Matters Group of Corvallis United Church of Christ, Electrify Corvallis, Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee, Corvallis Climate Action Alliance, OR Physicians for Social Responsibility, Buddhists Responding – Corvallis, Oregon PeaceWorks, NAACP Linn/Benton Chapter, Sangha Jewel, and Sunrise Corvallis. The Divest Corvallis resolution at the time of passage had over 49 individual endorsers as well.
The City of Corvallis joins New York City, NY; Burlington, VT; Charlottesville, VA; Berkeley, CA; and San Luis Obispo, CA, among other cities in the U.S. and worldwide, in committing to divest public funds from weapons of war. While Corvallis does not currently hold investments in weapons manufacturers, the passage of this resolution marks a significant commitment for the city to support peace and life-affirming industries in all future investments.
“I want to help create a better world that can live constructively. The human gift of the capacity for problem-solving needs to be nurtured more than war’s vast infrastructure […] We must think our way there together. This Divest from War Resolution is a way for us to practice imagining new futures as a community,” said Linda Richards, Divest Corvallis member and professor of history at Oregon State University. Richards is also a member of Linus Pauling VFP, joining VFP members Bill Glassmire and Joel Inman in speaking for the resolution.
The Divest from War resolution builds off of the momentum of Corvallis’ robust peace and climate justice movements. In the public comment section, coalition and VFP member Bill Glassmire spoke about the 19 year-long daily peace vigil held in Corvallis by late activist Ed Epley, which eventually led to the formation of the Corvallis Divest from War coalition. The Divest from War coalition also base their work in the climate justice movement, citing that the U.S. military is the biggest institutional producer of greenhouse gasses in the world.
“It’s estimated that the U.S. military emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than entire countries, like Denmark and Portugal,” said Barry Reeves, a member of Buddhists Responding – Corvallis. “It is important for us, as a part of civil society, and for those of us in the council of government, to respond and begin the transformation to a sustainable future. May we remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And this resolution can be seen as a first step,” he added.
Posted in Peace Activism, Veterans For Peace News Tagged divestment 1 Comment
Corvallis Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration 2022
Corvallis Commemoration: Thursday, August 4, 2022
Corvallis Riverfront Park, 1st and Madison, Corvallis
Event begins at 6:30pm with traditional Japanese koto music by Masumi Timson.
Program begins at around 7pm
Joe Scott – Language and Culture Bearer, Siletz Tribe; will give a Land Acknowledgment.
Corvallis Mayor, Biff Traber – So pleased to have our Mayor at the Commemoration podium again this year. Biff will read a Mayor’s Peace Declaration.
Kelly Campbell – Executive Director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). Cofounder, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows– – Kelly is recipient of the 2019 Visionary Leaders Award from National PSR. Will share her journey as an anti-nuclear weapons activist.
Pat Hoover – Hanford Downwinder, living with radiation poisoning; Pat will read a work of poetry.
Aleita Hass-Holcombe – Volunteer and activist for the homeless; director, Corvallis Drop-in Center; Aleita will read a statement from June Ikuko Terasaka Moore, a local Hibakusha who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Seneca Moback – Student, OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion. Seneca will read the Divest from War Resolution. Divest from the War Machine
Rev. Matt Gordon, First Christian Church – Matt will lead the Community Affirmation for Peace.
8pm – Peace Flotilla – A short walk to the Van Buren bridge to watch the lantern lit Peace Flotilla as it advances down river and passes beneath us . . . an awesome and inspiring sight!
News coverage and video of the 2021 Commemoration.
Event ends by 8:30pm.
- Veterans for Peace, Linus Pauling chapter
- Corvallis Divest from the War Machine
- Code Pink
- World Beyond War
- OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion, Peace and Justice Strategies Office
A huge Thank You! to:
- Masumi Timson for gracing the Commemoration with her beautiful Japanese koto music.
- James Reismiller, Abundant Solar – For several years, James has contributed to the Commemoration a solar powered sound system. A great local company, a fantastic sound system, thanks to Abundant Solar and the sunshine!
- First Christian Church – a warm and open-hearted church in Corvallis – providing chairs for the Commemoration. The church hosts the community’s Stone Soup program and AA meetings.
And thanks to all the Commemoration’s speakers. We appreciate so much the good work you do!
Websites with excellent information and ways we can take action against the war machine and the threats posed by nuclear weapons:
Code Pink: https://www.codepink.org/
Divest from the War Machine: https://www.divestfromwarmachine.org/
Corvallis Divest from the War Machine: https://www.divestfromwarmachine.org/corvallis
Hanford’s Dirty Secret – Environmental and health hazards: https://www.icanw.org/hanford_s_dirty_secret_and_it_s_not_56_million_gallons_of_nuclear_waste
City of Hiroshima – Atomic Bombing and Peace Initiatives: https://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/site/english/158098.html
ICAN – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: https://www.icanw.org/
Veterans for Peace: https://www.veteransforpeace.org/
Veterans for Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132, mid-Valley, Oregon – The Commemoration’s gracious website host: http://vfpcorvallis.org/
WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: https://www.wilpf.org/
Radiation Blues – a song written by Ellen Thomas,WILF’s Disarm, End Wars Committee. Great song, sung here by Courthey Dowe.
World Beyond War: https://worldbeyondwar.org/
Peace Action: https://peaceaction.org/
Linus Pauling VFP Chapter hosts Tax Day event
Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Mid-Valley, Oregon hosted a Tax Day event at Corvallis (OR) Riverfront Park on April 16, 2022.
Organizers asked the question, “The US will spend $800 billion this year on militarism. How would you spend $800 billion to make the world better?”
Twelve speakers and over 40 participants attended. Answers to this question fell into three major areas. First, three fourths of respondents emphasized one or more basic needs. Most noted were health care and housing. These were followed by education, food, child care, and student debt.
Righting injustices was the next theme with just over one third of respondents wanting to help the needy, pay reparations to indigenous and black people, plus supporting refugees and world peace. Just under a third had environmental concerns about renewable energy, stopping the use of fossil fuels, and developing better infrastructure for electricity and transportation. Many attendees volunteered to work on future actions to reduce taxes that support militarism.
If you would like to help on this campaign of public awareness, please share this post and contact us: email@example.com.