BCP&J E-Newsletter –- Jan. 14, 2008

 

Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice

175 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

 

Contents

 

                                            Upcoming BCP&J Events (Updated)

                                            Descriptions of Videos to be Shown January 17

                                            Notes from the January 10 meeting (New)

                                            Plans for a Pittsfield event marking Fifth Anniversary of start of

                                                  the present U.S. government's war against Iraq (Updated)

                                            Berkshire Community College (BCC) Events

                                            Some Other Events (Non-BCP&J and Non-BCC) (None listed)

                                            About Peaceplans

                                            Cost of Iraq War as of Jan. 12, 2008 (NPP Methodology information included)

                                            Imp't. News Items for the Week (No entries in this E-Newsletter)

                                            Some Useful Links (None listed yet)

                                            Quotes (Two Important quotes from Ike)

                                            Special Picture (London Daily Mirror front page for Nov. 4, 2004)

                                            About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice (BCP&J)

                                            Contact Information

                                            Fair Use Notice

 

 

 

Upcoming BCP&J Events

Text Box: Weekly Peace Vigil each Thursday at Park Square in Pittsfield, 5 to 6 P.M.  The Vigils are held in cooperation with Berkshire Community College’s Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO).

 

 

 

 

Note regarding the Jan. 17 videos to be followed by discussion (7:30 to 9:30 P.M.)

 

The word Exposé conjures up images of things "they" didn't want you to know. The next video presentations sponsored by Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice, on Jan. 17, should go a long way toward satisfying some of your desires to know a good many things that "they" wished to keep secret. If you are cynical and believe big media generally covers up scandals by those in important places, these three stories should help you to rethink some of your cynicism.

 

Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 P.M., at the UU Church in Pittsfield, BCP&J will present three more segments (click here for descriptions) from the series, "Exposé: America's Investigative Reports."

 

Thursday, Jan. 24 – Regular 7:30 P.M. planning meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield

 

Saturday, Mar. 22 – Keep this day open for a likely demonstration in Pittsfield marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the current war against Iraq. Early stage thinking/planning has begun, and suggestions are solicited & welcome. The event will consist of a march that will begin and end at about the same place so that we will be near our cars at the end of the event. A major piece will be a memorial for those who died in the Iraq War during the last year. The event will be advertised widely as was the march and service we sponsored in Pittsfield two years ago. 

 

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Descriptions of Upcoming Thursday Videos

  

On Thursday, January 17, the three 25 minute films will be:

 

“Question 7”
The Hartford Courant investigates a disturbing trend in the mental health condition of military personnel sent to Iraq and Afghanistan - suicide rates are up, and the military has inadequate mechanisms to care for those in need of help.


”Quid Pro Quo”
The Copley News Service and The San Diego Union-Tribune go inside the Beltway and expose the bribes-for-government-contracts scheme that made Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham a rich man, and ultimately landed him in jail.


”Charity Begins at Home”
The Oregonian exposes the head of a non-profit organization who gets rich off a federal program designed to help the disabled.

 

Back to Upcoming BCP&J Events

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Notes from the January 10 meeting

 

Major items of discussion were:

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Berkshire Community College Events

 

 

Meetings of GIRO (Global Issues Resource Organization) are held Mondays at 12:15 P.M. in Room 217 of Melville Hall. All are welcome to attend.

 

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Some Other Events (Non-BCP&J and Non-BCC)

 

 

None currently listed

 

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About Peaceplans

 

Peaceplans is a web site for posting information about peace-related events and issues in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Joining Peaceplans is a good way to stay in touch with events in the area. To join Peaceplans, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/

Once you have joined, make it a habit to regularly check the latest messages at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/messages

 

You will also be able to post messages yourself.

 

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Cost of Iraq War as of January 12, 2008

 

(From www.costofiraqwar.org and http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

 

Cost to U.S. - More than 4,000 military deaths; more than 900 civilian contractor deaths; more than 200 NGO American deaths; more than 27,000 service people wounded; $485 billion.

 

Dollar cost to Pittsfield = more than $68,900,000

 

 Trade-offs: How the $68.4 million Pittsfield has paid for the war might have been better used:

   For the Methodology of the National Priorities Project (recently modified), see below or go to http://www.nationalpriorities.org/cms/content/notes-and-sources-tradeoffs

    Notes and Sources: Trade-Offs Page

Military Programs and Cost of the Iraq War:

For the following programs, we calculated each state's share of taxes paid into federal funds revenues (based on IRS data). This includes individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, excise, gift and estate taxes. Each state's share of taxes was then multiplied by the total amount of the given item. The Congressional District share is based on its population and median household income relative to the total state figure.

Amounts for military programs are for the proposed spending in the President's budget for fiscal year 2007 presented in February 2006.

Ballistic Missile Defense: According to the Center for Arms Control and Nuclear Proliferation, the total proposed spending for ballistic missile defense in the fiscal year 2007 budget would be $11 billion. This amount includes Space Based Infra-Red System - High.

Nuclear Weapons: According to the Budget of the United States Government, FY2007, spending on Department of Energy's Atomic Energy Defense Activities would be $17 billion.

Cost of Iraq War: The total amount allocated for war and occupation in Iraq is approximately $456 billion through fiscal year 2007. This amount will be updated with information on fiscal year 2008 when appropriate. For a discussion of the amount requested for FY2008, click here.

This number is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated money for war so far. Funding for the war has been initiated by the Bush Administration in supplementals:

Please note that the Department of Defense was also permitted by legislation to transfer funds from other operations (peacetime, Afghanistan, etc.) to the Iraq War, and so estimating war costs based on Congressional legislation is not enough. An article offered by the Strauss Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information offers greater insight into the problems of truly knowing how much has been spent on the Iraq War or other military operations. A Congressional Research Service report also discusses the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tax Cuts:

Each state's share is based on how much they received in federal aid to states for fiscal year 2004, the most recent year the data is available. The Congressional District breakdowns take the proportion of the state's population as its share of the state's federal aid to states.

$56.5 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%: According to the Tax Policy Center (Table T06-0034), the wealthiest 1% would receive one-fourth of the tax cuts this year (which would total around $220 billion).

Trade-Offs:

Elementary School Teachers, Music and Arts Teachers, Public Safety Officers, Police Officers, Firefighters, Nurses, and any other occupation: Each state's number is based on the average amount of annual pay an elementary school teacher receives, plus 25% for other expenses associated with employment such as benefits. These numbers are for 2005 from the Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.

Head Start Places for Children: We calculated cost per child numbers for each state based on state numbers from the Administration of Children and Families' Head Start Bureau. These numbers are from 2005.

People or Children Receiving Health Care: The state numbers are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Data Compendium. They represent the average Medicaid outlays per person or per child in each state for 1999 and 2000, and then are forecasted for 2005.

Elementary Schools: The cost of a new elementary school is based on the median amount spent on a 65,000 square foot elementary school in 2005, as reported by the School Planning and Management's 11th Annual Construction Report. A 65,000 square foot elementary school can accommodate roughly 500 students. Regional differences in cost are reflected in each states totals.

Scholarships for University Students: The number for each state is based on the cost of tuition and fees at that state's flagship university for the 2005-2006 academic year. Data on tuition and fees are available at the National Center for Education Statistics' College Opportunities On-Line (COOL).

Affordable Housing Units: The number for each state is based on Census 1990 and 2000 housing values. We have taken the average of the median and lower quartile values, and forecasted for 2005. This may be a fairly rough estimate of what is would cost to build affordable housing, but does constitute a good estimate of an inexpensive housing unit in each state.

Housing Vouchers: On average, each housing voucher is worth $6,665. While there is some variation between cities, we used the national average for each state because it represented the best guide for the value of a housing voucher. This amount is from the Congressional Budget Office.

Students receiving Pell Grants of $4050: The maximum Pell Grant award is currently set at $4050. We used that number for each of the states and for the United States as a whole. Information on the Federal Pell Grant Program can be found at the Office of Postsecondary Education at the US Department of Education.

Homes with Renewable Electricity : The average kWh per home was calculated with data from the Energy Information Administration on total residential electricity useage (by state) and number occupied households. The cost of wind energy is approximately 8 cents per kWh according to research done by Ryan Wiser and Edward Kahn at Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory. For our estimations, we've used 8 cents.

 

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Some Important News Items for the Week

 

None currently listed.

 

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Some Useful Links


None currently listed

 

 

 

 

Text Box: The above links are provided as a convenience. However, as the updating of web pages can affect links, it may occasionally happen that a link provided in this newsletter will not work.
 

 

 

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Quotes

 

 

In this E-Newsletter, we will take a look at exactly what President

Dwight D. Eisenhower said in two speeches frequently quoted.

 

 

 

For the first speech, Ike’s Speech Before the American Society of Newspaper Editors delivered on April 16, 1953, we’ll look at a very short but powerful snippet. It was in this speech, broadcast over television and radio from the Statler Hotel in Washington, that Ike said:

”Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

 

 

For the second speech, Ike’s Farewell Speech to the Nation delivered on January 17, 1961, we’ll look at two longer snippets in which Ike displayed a lot of wisdom. The most frequently quoted portions will be in red boldface.

 

(snip)

 

“Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

 

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

 

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

 

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

 

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

 

(snip)

 

“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

 

“In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

 

“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

 

“The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

 

“Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

 

“It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

 

“V.

 

“Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

 

“VI.

 

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

 

“Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

 

“Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.”

 

(snip)

 

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Picture of the week

 

 

 

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About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice

 

BCP&J is open to all people interested in promoting peace and justice who live, work, vacation in, or visit Berkshire County.

 

REGULAR MEETINGS are held every Thursday, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, 175 Wendell Avenue (one block up Broad St. from Rt. 7 & 20, and on the corner of Wendell Avenue and Broad St.).  Meetings on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (and some 5th Thursdays) are devoted to showing educational films/videos followed by discussion.

 

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Contact Information

                                                                                                                                       

For comments or questions regarding this newsletter, contact George Desnoyers at 443-4298 or gdesnoye@berkshire.rr.com

 

For questions about BCP&J, contact one or more of the following members, all regular attendees at meetings:

 

 

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FAIR USE NOTICE. This newsletter may contain copyrighted material, and some uses of copyrighted material may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. All copyrighted material in this newsletter is provided without charge and for educational purposes -- to advance the understanding of topics and issues important to the advancement of peace and justice in our time. All copyrighted material is provided in the belief that its use in this newsletter constitutes a “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Determination of whether copyrighted material shall be used in this newsletter involves the consideration of the following factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. No copyrighted material in this newsletter should be reproduced or distributed if the reproduction or distribution would diminish the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. If you wish to use any copyrighted material provided in this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

 

 

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