Archive: 08/2011

Call the White House: Tell President Obama to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline

At last count, 595 people have been arrested at the White House over the Keystone XL pipeline. And yet, we have still not heard from President Obama. Governor Dave Heineman has just sent a letter to the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging them to deny the permit for the proposed  pipeline route through the Sandhills. And still, there is no word from President Obama. The President doesn't need Congress in order to take action. The decision to grant a permit lies entirely within his control. If he wants to show that he still cares about stopping climate change, he needs to stop this project.  

In Governor Heineman’s letter to the White House, he stated, “Of the current proposed route, 254 miles of the pipeline would come through Nebraska and be situated directly over the Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer provides water to farmers and ranchers of Nebraska to raise livestock and grow crops. Nebraska has 92,685 registered, active irrigation wells supplying water to over 8.5 million acres of harvested cropland and pasture. Forty-six percent of the total cropland harvested during 2007 was irrigated. Maintaining and protecting Nebraska’s water supply is very important to me and the residents of Nebraska. This resource is the lifeblood of Nebraska’s agriculture industry. Cash receipts from farm markets contribute over $17 billion to Nebraska’s economy annually. I am concerned that the proposed pipeline will potentially have detrimental effects on this valuable natural resource and Nebraska’s economy.” 

President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said Tuesday he hadn't talked to the president about the pipeline. This is a real slap in the face to President Obama’s supporters who are counting on him to live up to his pledge to reverse the growing threat of human-caused climate change. We need to make sure President Obama hears our voices. Take a minute to call the White House and tell the President to deny the permit to build this pipeline. 

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I will be sitting in front of the White House

The following guest editorial by Nebraskans for Peace member Carol Smith appeared in the Monday, August 22 Lincoln Journal Star:

Here in Nebraska, the controversy over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has largely focused on the danger of an oil spill contaminating our groundwater resources. Nationally though, growing numbers of people are warning of the irreparable damage that tar sands oil will wreak on the climate if we burn the filthy fossil fuel that the pipeline would haul.

While a vocal group of skeptics continue to argue that the science of human-caused global warming is unproved or even an outright hoax, the human role in climate change now is beyond doubt. The overwhelming majority of the world's climate scientists (98 percent, according to the Washington Post) clearly put the blame for global warming on the increased carbon emissions produced from burning coal and oil.

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Feeding the Community, One Garden at a Time

Ingrid Kirst
Community CROPS
Executive Director 

Growing your own food is a political statement. It lets you be independent. It lets you grow food organically. It lets you buy less from major corporations and the industrial agricultural system. Yet, community gardens are one program that people from all across the political spectrum can agree on—they provide the resources so people can help themselves. Rather than a handout, a community garden plot allows a family to grow some of their own food. They can then choose to share this food with other friends and families, spreading the wealth and nutrition.

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StratCom the Cyber Warrior

Loring Wirbel
Citizens for Peace in Space

A new Pentagon strategy released July 13 assigns the primary duty of cyber operations to U.S. Strategic Command, with secondary missions assumed by U.S. Cyber Command, based at the National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. This “Cyberspace Operations Strategy” is more ominous than might otherwise be suspected with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s revelation at a news conference in mid-July that the Pentagon now considers the commercial Internet to be “another operational theater of war”—and that StratCom and Cyber Command must be ready to take on more offensive roles in combating cyber assaults.

Scare tactics were in abundance at the July announcement with the Department of Defense disclosing that a foreign agency had collected more than 20,000 documents in a cyber-assault on a U.S. military contractor this past spring. This March 2011 attack was in fact of an altogether different degree than the previously-known assaults on Lockheed Martin and RSA Security Inc. Though Panetta revealed no details, most bloggers agreed the foreign agency in question was most likely China, and that the targeted contractor had been Northrop Grumman.

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Reflections on Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima

The following statement by Nobuko Tsukui, a Japanese national from Tokyo who has specialized in the literature of the atomic bomb, was delivered at the 2011 Annual Lantern Float at Lincoln’s Holmes Lake Park Saturday evening August 6—the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

(First, I wish to pay a tribute to the memory of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the March 11 disaster.) I have no word to describe the sense of devastation I felt at the triple disaster of March 11. The earthquake and the tsunami were, of course, caused by the forces of nature. But I could not help reflecting on our civilization in the face of this catastrophe. The Fukushima nuclear disaster, especially, symbolized the problem of civilization in the nuclear age vis-à-vis the forces of nature in their most destructive form. The world witnessed how utterly defenseless the nuclear power plant—supposedly the epitome of nuclear science and technology—could be against the earthquake and tsunami. And I believe that the Fukushima disaster has compelled us to re-examine our attitudes toward both ‘nuclear weapons’ and ‘nuclear energy.’

I wish to refer to two writers who, nearly 30 years ago, tried to awaken us.

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