Archive: 01/2015

Climate Change Threatens National Security

Retired Rear Admiral David Titley, who served as the U.S. Navy’s senior “Oceanographer” and “Navigator” during his career, discussed the peril climate change poses to America’s national security in a seminar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln October 30. Presenting on the topic “Climate Change and National Security: People Not Polar Bears,” the military expert and fellow of the American Meteorological Society, detailed how climate change is no longer some remote, abstract threat, but is already impacting Americans’ everyday lives.

The accompanying editorial, which originally appeared in the July 6, 2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, touches upon many of the points Admiral Titley addressed in his UNL seminar. Upon his retirement from the Navy in 2012, Titley became the founding director of the “Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk” at Penn State University.

Climate change is an accelerating threat to national security. That’s the finding of a recent report by the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board, a panel I serve on along with some of our country’s most senior retired military leaders.

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NADP's Upcoming Lobby Day!

I’m hoping you can help us spread the word about the upcoming Lobby Day to Repeal the Death Penalty that will take place Wednesday March 4th, 2015. This is an important time to show the growing support for repeal in Nebraska – we want to pack the Capitol with repeal supporters! Below is a short overview of the details for the day. It would be a tremendous help if you could share this with your supporters/network.

Lobby Day March 4th, 2015 to Repeal the Death Penalty

 We are joining Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty for a Lobby Day to Repeal the Death Penalty that will take place Wednesday March 4th, 2015. We will gather for a rally in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 10am (across the street from the Capitol - 14th and K Street in Lincoln). You will be given an update about the repeal campaign, go over lobbying basics, and prep you to connect with your Senator at the Capitol. Then we will all walk to the Capitol to connect citizens with the Senators. There is a free luncheon at 11:45 for Senators and citizens, and following lunch at 1:30 we’ll view the Judiciary Committee’s hearing. It’s possible that the death penalty repeal bill (LB 268) will be discussed at this hearing. It’s really important to our repeal effort that we have a strong showing this day, we hope you’ll join us! For more information, or to RSVP, visit their website at

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War is still 'a racket'

by David James
Guest Columnist. Foreign

The United States of America is in a state of perpetual war, which requires perpetual war spending. The reason for this is simple: money and power.

To be more specific, tax-payer money allocated by politicians to defense contractors who produce wildly expensive and unnecessary equipment, and power of controlling certain resources and markets for profit-driven corporations and industries. This is allowed to happen because the citizens, the tax-payers, do not know and do not care about money spent on “defense.” The American military is the sole remaining institution of public funding and common interest that has a near unanimous bipartisan approval rating and simultaneous near lack of oversight, and lack of interest by voters. One relevant example is the disturbing case of the F-35 “Lightning” stealth fighter jet. It is being produced by a team of industrial arms producers including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and active cooperation between the USA and at least ten other allied nations. The total estimated long-term cost of the project has been estimated to reach as high as $1.5 Trillion. That’s trillion with a “T”, or as much as the entire Iraq War combined, or more than the annual GNP of all but the 12 biggest economies in the world. Many times public projects of dubious merit and gross mismanagement will be deemed “boondoggles” by the press. In this case, there is little press coverage at all of a military project so enormously wasteful as to defy imagination. The word boondoggle is too benign for the cancer of corrupt and bungled arms contracts that is the F-35. Here is a recent article in The Daily Beast describing, for example, how faulty software will prevent the jet from firing its own gun and will delay the project for at least another five years.

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ACTION ALERT | Upcoming Hearing on Voter Suppression Bill

Article I Section 22 of the Nebraska Constitution reads, "All elections shall be free; and there shall be no hindrance or impediment to the right of a qualified voter to exercise the elective franchise".

Two bills before the Nebraska Legislature would require all Nebraska registered voters to show a government-issued photographic identification before being able to vote at the ballot box. These bills are being offered up based on the fallacy that Nebraska is fraught with voter fraud. We know that isn't true. As we have seen in other states, these voter suppression bills are used to keep certain people - the young, low-income, disabled and minorities - from voting.

These bills will be heard before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee this Friday, January 23rd beginning at 1:30 PM.

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Colonizing Nature-- It's Our 'Manifest Destiny'!

by Hendrik Van den Berg
UNL Professor of Economics

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a project that has involved nearly 10,000 scientists from around the world, a few weeks ago once again reconfirmed earlier conclusions that climate change is underway and that human activity on Earth is the main cause. Scientists have also concluded that if we are to keep temperature increases below two degree celsius (3.6 degrees fahrenheit), we can only burn a small portion, perhaps just 20 percent, of the known reserves of carbon fuels. And yet, Congress just came within one vote of approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is intended to carry the dirtiest possible crude oil from the isolated Alberta tar sands to the world energy market to be burned into the atmosphere. Our political leaders do not seem to be paying attention to what is happening to our environment.

One of the common themes of those who either voted for the pipeline or those who went along with the decision is that the pipeline will bring economic growth and employment. This argument holds little water since resource-destroying economic expansion is not really growth and the pipeline creates almost no new permanent employment. But, the idea that economic growth comes first resonates with Americans, accustomed to a high-energy lifestyle. Of course, many of those legislators who voted for letting more tar sands crude oil flow into the international energy market claim that they just do not believe the climate science. A popular reaction is that global warming is some kind of socialist plot against the American way of life.

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